Toward stable network performance in wireless sensor networks: A multilevel perspective

Shan Lin, Gang Zhou, Motaz Al-Hami, Kamin Whitehouse, Yafeng Wu, John A. Stankovic, Tian He, Xiobing Wu, Hengchang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Many applications in wireless sensor networks require communication performance that is both consistent and of high quality. Unfortunately, performance of current network protocols can vary significantly because of various interferences and environmental changes. Current protocols estimate link quality based on the reception of probe packets over a short time period. This method is neither efficient nor accurate enough to capture the dramatic variations of link quality. Therefore, we propose a link metric called competence that characterizes links over a longer period of time. We combine competence with current short-term estimations in routing algorithm designs. To further improve network performance, we have designed a distributed route maintenance framework based on feedback control solutions. This framework allows every link along an end-to-end (E2E) path to adjust its link protocol parameters, such as transmission power and number of retransmissions, to ensure specified E2E reliability and latency under dynamic link qualities. Our solutions are evaluated in both extensive simulations and real system experiments. In real system evaluations with 48 T-Motes, our overall solution improves E2E packet delivery ratio over existing solutions by up to 40% while reducing transmission energy consumption by up to 22%. Importantly, our solution also achieves more stable and better transient performance than current approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42
Number of pages1
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Performance stability
  • Real-time routing
  • Stable routing
  • Transmission power control
  • Wireless interference
  • Wireless sensor networks


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