Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are characterized by limited amounts
of energy supply at sensor nodes. Hence, energy efficiency is an
important issue in system design and operation of WSNs. In this paper,
we propose a novel communication paradigm that enables energy-efficient
information delivery in wireless sensor networks. Compared with
traditional communication solutions, the proposed scheme explores a new
dimension - time, combined with minimal energy to deliver information
efficiently. We refer to communication strategy as Communication
through Silence (CtS).
We identify a key drawback of such a strategy - the energy-throughput trade-off, and present mechanisms that alleviate and in some cases even improve the energy-throughput trade-off when compared to traditional communication strategies. Finally, we describe a medium access control (MAC) approach for CtS with details on how framing, sequencing, addressing, error-control, and contention resolution can be performed while using CtS. Through simulations, we evaluate CtS against a traditional communication strategy in terms of both throughput and energy performance through simulations.