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Models and solutions for radio irregularity in wireless sensor networks

By Gang Zhou, Tian He, Sudha Krishnamurthy and John A. Stankovic


In this paper, we investigate the impact of radio irregularity on wireless sensor networks. Radio irregularity is a common phenomenon which arises from multiple factors, such as variance in RF sending power and different path losses depending on the direction of propagation. From our experiments, we discover that the variance in received signal strength is largely random; however, it exhibits a continuous change with incremental changes in direction. With empirical data obtained from the MICA2 and MICAZ platforms, we establish a radio model for simulation, called the Radio Irregularity Model (RIM). This model is the first to bridge the discrepancy between spherical radio models used by simulators and the physical reality of radio signals. With this model, we investigate the impact of radio irregularity on several upper layer protocols, including MAC, routing, localization and topology control. Our results show that radio irregularity has a relatively larger impact on the routing layer than the MAC layer. It also shows that radio irregularity leads to larger localization errors and makes it harder to maintain communication connectivity in topology control. To deal with these issues, we present eight solutions to deal with radio irregularity. We evaluate three of them in detail. The results obtained from both the simulations and a running testbed demonstrate that our solutions greatly improve system performance in the presence of radio irregularity

Topics: Categories and Subject Descriptors, C.2.1 [Computer Communication Network, Network Architecture and Design, I.6 [Computer Methodologies, Simulation and Modeling General Terms, Design, Algorithms, Measurement, Performance, Experimentation Additional Key Words and Phrases, Sensor networks, wireless communication, radio irregularity, sending power, path loss, link asymmetry, packet loss, localization, topology control
Year: 2006
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