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Analysis of Energy Conservation in Sensor Networks


In this paper we use the Erlang theory to quantitatively analyse the trade offs between energy conservation and quality of service in an ad-hoc wireless sensor network. Nodes can be either sleeping, where no transmission or reception can occur, or awake where traffic is processed. Increasing the proportion of time spent in the sleeping state will decrease throughput and increase packet loss and delivery delay. However there is a complex relationship between sleeping time and energy consumption. Increasing the sleeping time does not always lead to an increase in the energy saved. We identify the energy consumption profile for various levels of sensor network activity and derive an optimum energy saving curve that provides a basis for the design of extended-life ad hoc wireless sensor networks.

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Correspondence to Q. Gao.

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Qiang Gao is a research fellow in Electronic Engineering at Aston University. He received his B.S. in Theoretical Physics from Southwest Normal University in 1994, M.S. in Theoretical Physics from Lanzou University in 1997, and Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from Chinese Academy of Science in 2000. His research interests include ad hoc networks, multimedia networks, information security, CSCW.

Keith Blow is a Professor in Engineering in the School of Engineering at Aston University. He worked for eighteen years in the research laboratories of BT studying optical solitons and the applications of nonlinearity to optical communications. In 1999 he moved to Aston University. In addition to his interests in optical communications he is also working on performance modelling and optimisation of ad-hoc sensor networks.

David Holding is a Reader in Electronic Engineering in the School of Engineering at Aston University. He has expertise in the design of digital and programmable electronic systems, leads the digital electronics design programmes and is responsible for the associated laboratories and research facilities. Dr Holding has research interests in the design of sensor networks, distributed processing and control systems, concurrent real-time software and fault tolerant systems, and FPGA/SOC implementation.

Ian Marshall is Professor of Distributed Systems in the Computing Lab at the University of Kent and a Visiting Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at University College London. He is also Technical Director of the DTI funded Envisense research centre. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a Royal Society Industry Fellow at University College London where he led the initial research on self-organising sensor networks, using nature inspired decentralised control algorithms, now being further explored by the Envisense researchers, and the ubiquitous systems reasearch group at Kent. Previously he worked for BT in active networks & services, optical networks, broadband networks, network strategy, Internet and distributed systems. He is a chartered engineer, a member of council at the Institute of Physics and a fellow of the British Computer Society and of the Institute of Electrical Engineers. He serves on several institute committees, on EPSRC and European research panels, and on numerous programme committees.

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Gao, Q., Blow, K.J., Holding, D.J. et al. Analysis of Energy Conservation in Sensor Networks. Wireless Netw 11, 787–794 (2005).

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  • sensor networks
  • ad hoc networks
  • energy efficient design
  • QoS
  • Erlang formula