, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 193-207
Date: 03 Apr 2007

An unequal cluster-based routing protocol in wireless sensor networks

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Clustering provides an effective method for prolonging the lifetime of a wireless sensor network. Current clustering algorithms usually utilize two techniques; selecting cluster heads with more residual energy, and rotating cluster heads periodically to distribute the energy consumption among nodes in each cluster and extend the network lifetime. However, they rarely consider the hot spot problem in multihop sensor networks. When cluster heads cooperate with each other to forward their data to the base station, the cluster heads closer to the base station are burdened with heavier relay traffic and tend to die much faster, leaving areas of the network uncovered and causing network partitions. To mitigate the hot spot problem, we propose an Unequal Cluster-based Routing (UCR) protocol. It groups the nodes into clusters of unequal sizes. Cluster heads closer to the base station have smaller cluster sizes than those farther from the base station, thus they can preserve some energy for the inter-cluster data forwarding. A greedy geographic and energy-aware routing protocol is designed for the inter-cluster communication, which considers the tradeoff between the energy cost of relay paths and the residual energy of relay nodes. Simulation results show that UCR mitigates the hot spot problem and achieves an obvious improvement on the network lifetime.

Guihai Chen obtained his B.S. degree from Nanjing University, M. Engineering from Southeast University, and PhD from University of Hong Kong. He visited Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan in 1998 as a research fellow, and University of Queensland, Australia in 2000 as a visiting professor. During September 2001 to August 2003, he was a visiting professor at Wayne State University. He is now a full professor and deputy chair of Department of Computer Science, Nanjing University. Prof. Chen has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and refereed conference proceedings in the areas of wireless sensor networks, high-performance computer architecture, peer-to-peer computing and performance evaluation. He has also served on technical program committees of numerous international conferences. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society.
Chengfa Li was born 1981 and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics in 2003 and his Masters Degree in computer science in 2006, both from Nanjing University, China. He is now a system programmer at Lucent Technologies Nanjing Telecommunication Corporation. His research interests include wireless ad hoc and sensor networks.
Mao Ye was born in 1981 and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in computer science from Nanjing University, China, in 2004. He served as a research assistant At City University of Hong Kong from September 2005 to August 2006. He is now a PhD candidate with research interests in wireless networks, mobile computing, and distributed systems.
Jie Wu is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Florida Atlantic University. He has published more than 300 papers in various journal and conference proceedings. His research interests are in the areas of mobile computing, routing protocols, fault-tolerant computing, and interconnection networks. Dr. Wu serves as an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems and several other international journals. He served as an IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitor and is currently the chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Distributed Processing (TCDP). He is a member of the ACM, a senior member of the IEEE, and a member of the IEEE Computer Society.