Correlation, Coding, and Cooperation in Wireless Sensor Networks

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We consider a single-hop data-gathering sensor network, consisting of a set of sensor nodes that transmit data periodically to a base-station. We are interested in maximizing the lifetime of this network. With our definition of network lifetime and the assumption that the radio transmission energy consumption forms the most significant portion of the total energy consumption at a sensor node, we attempt to enhance the network lifetime by reducing the transmission energy budget of sensor nodes by exploiting three system-level opportunities.

We pose the problem of maximizing lifetime as a max-min optimization problem subject to the constraint of successful data collection and limited energy supply at each node. This turns out to be an extremely difficult optimization to solve. To reduce the complexity of this problem, we allow the sensor nodes and the base-station to interactively communicate with each other and employ instantaneous decoding at the base-station. The chief contribution of the paper is to show that the computational complexity of our problem is determined by the complex interplay of various system-level opportunities and challenges.