Link Layer Strategies for PicoNode

En-Yi Lin
(Professor Jan M. Rabaey)
(DARPA) F29601-99-1-0169

Recent advancements in wireless communications and electronics have led to the development of sensor networks. Applications for sensor networks can be found in many different areas, including military, office, and home. In sensor networks, unlike in ad hoc networks, the most critical factors are not bandwidth efficiency, packet throughput, or latency, but power efficiency and scalibility. These different emphases make the design choices over the protocol stack in sensor networks very different from in ad hoc networks.

In this project, we build a power model including both the physical layer and datalink layer, with various wireless channel models assumed. We consider power consumption in actual circuit components as well as from a communication prospective (SNR/BER). Taking circuit complexity into account when considering power consumption, we found that the traditional way of designing communication systems (modulation/demodulation, MAC protocol, error control coding, etc.) does not necessarily lead to the optimum result. In this project, we intend to analyze the tradeoffs between low power and acceptable QoS in a sensor network, integrate across both the physical and datalink layer, and find the optimum operating point.

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