Mutual Exclusion in Wireless Sensor and Actor Networks

Ramanuja Vedantham, Zhenyun Zhuang and Raghupathy Sivakumar
GNAN Research Group
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

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


A typical wireless sensor network performs only one action: sensing the environment. The need for smart interaction with the environment has led to the emergence of Wireless Sensor and Actor Networks (WSANs), where a group of sensors, actors and the sink linked by wireless medium perform distributed sensing and acting tasks.
In WSANs, it is important that the actors act only to the appropriate level when the event occurs in order to perform the desired action on the evironment. In this context, we identify the problem of mutual exclusion, which is the need to act only once for any particular location and command. We define three flavors for mutual exclusion and show the undesirable consequences of not providing mutual exclusion. In this context, we discuss the design of centralized and distributed approaches required to address this problem efficiently. Through a preliminary set of simulations we study the performance of the proposed solution and two basic strategies.

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