One of the most critical issues in wireless ad hoc networks is represented by the limited availability of energy within network nodes. Thus, making good use of energy is a must in ad hoc networks. In this paper, we define as network lifetime the time period from the instant when the network starts functioning to the instant when the first network node runs out of energy. Our objective is to devise techniques to maximize the network lifetime in the case of cluster-based systems, which represent a significant sub-set of ad hoc networks. Cluster-based ad hoc networks comprise two types of nodes: cluster-heads and ordinary nodes. Cluster-heads coordinate all transmissions from/to ordinary nodes and forward all traffic in a cluster, either to other nodes in the cluster or to other cluster-heads. In this case, to prolong the network lifetime we must maximize the lifetime of the cluster-heads because they are the critical network element from the energy viewpoint. We propose an original approach to maximize the network lifetime by determining the optimal assignment of nodes to cluster-heads. Given the number of cluster-heads, the complexity of the proposed solution grows linearly with the number of network nodes. The network topology is assumed to be either static or slowly changing. Two working scenarios are considered. In the former, the optimal network configuration from the energy viewpoint is computed only once; in the latter, the network configuration can be periodically updated to adapt to the evolution of the cluster-heads energy status. In both scenarios, the presented solution greatly outperforms the standard assignment of nodes to cluster-heads, based on the minimum transmission power criterion.
wireless ad hoc networks clustering energy efficiency modeling