Data Funneling: Routing with Aggregation and Compression for Wireless Sensor Networks

Dragan Petrovic and Rahul Shah
(Professors Jan M. Rabaey and Kannan Ramchandran)
(DARPA) F29601-99-1-0169 and (NSF) CCR-0219722

This work considers the problem of minimizing the amount of communication needed to send readings from a set of sensors to a single destination in energy constrained wireless networks. Substantial gains can be obtained using packet aggregation techniques while routing. The routing algorithm we developed, called data funneling, allows the network to considerably reduce the amount of energy spent on communication setup and control, an important concern in low data-rate communication. This is achieved by sending only one data stream from a group of sensors to the destination, instead of having an individual data stream from each sensor to the destination. This strategy also decreases the probability of packet collisions when transmitting on a wireless medium because the total number of packets is reduced by incorporating the information of many small packets into a few large ones. Additional gains can be realized by efficient compression of data. This is achieved by losslessly compressing the data by encoding information in the ordering of the sensors’ packets. This “coding by ordering” scheme compresses data by suppressing certain readings and encoding their values in the ordering of the remaining packets. Using these techniques together can more than halve the energy spent in communication.

D. Petrovic, R. C. Shah, K. Ramchandran, and J. Rabaey, "Data Funneling: Routing with Aggregation and Compression for Wireless Sensor Networks," IEEE ICC Int. Workshop on Sensor Network Protocols and Applications, 2003 (submitted).

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