The topology of a randomly deployed sensor network can have a dramatic impact on the network's performance, as well as its lifetime. In a radio network without topology control, every node uses the same transmission power to send packets to its neighbors, with a neighbor defined as any node that can be directly reached by this node.
This approach has some major problems. In many envisioned real world scenarios, the positions of the sensors in a network can't be pre-arranged. In those areas where node density is high, one node may have many neighbors, while in other areas where node density is low, node degree is very small. Nodes with fewer neighbors may become bottleneck points and be biased by the upper layer routing protocol to relay more traffic, die fast, and disconnect the network quickly. Those high-degree nodes will spill out unnecessary energy and generate a lot of interference to their neighborhoods.
In this research we propose a novel distributed topology control protocol called zone-based topology control. It is a two-phase procedure to generate a topology where every single node in a network has roughly the same number of neighbors. We can demonstrate a substantial energy savings from these results.
At this time we are evaluating the performance and stability of the proposed protocol in real world senarios.