Challenges: Communication through Silence in Wireless Sensor Networks

Yujie Zhu and Raghupathy Sivakumar
GNAN Research Group
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

MobiCom 2005, August 28 - September 2, Cologne, Germany


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.

Presentation: [pdf (KB)]      Full Paper: [pdf (KB)]      Technical Report: [See page 96 of Yujie Zhu’s Ph.D. thesis]