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Task 5 (UCLM): Optimization of the operation of wireless sensor networks

Leader: Luis Orozco; Researchers: Teresa Olivares, Antonio Manuel Ortiz, Fernando Royo, Juan José Roncero, Pedro Díaz,  Fernando Ramírez,  Miguel Ángel García  

subTask 5.1 Study of cross-layer techniques for wireless networks

subTask 5.2 Power management techniques based on cross layer techniques

subTask 5.3 MAC QoS mechanisms using cross-layer techniques

subTask 5.4 Mechanisms for multimedia data distribution based on cross layer techniques

1. Brief Description of the Goals

Current trends on network (protocol) architectures for wireless networks of resource constrained nodes follow a cross-layer approach. Regarding the lower layers of the protocol architecture, most research efforts focus on the design of power-efficient MAC and routing protocols.

The literature is rich on power-efficient MAC protocols. Among the various paradigms, TDMA MAC protocols represent an appealing approach for densely populated networks. In the context of networks composed of a large number of power constrained nodes, TDMA protocols avoid some important sources of power wastage, such as, idle listening, collisions and overhearing. In addition, when an efficient synchronization mechanism is available, TDMA protocols are one of the best options for guaranteeing efficient and robust communications. Furthermore, some recent advances on TDMA MAC protocols focus on self-organizing MAC protocols. However, most of the protocols reported in the literature do not fully address the creation of the logical network structure along with the specific transmission schedule. In some proposals it is assumed that network creation is solved by using other protocols.

The main aim of this activity consists on the design of simple and power-aware efficient MAC and routing protocols. 

2. Scientific and Technical Developed Activities

In this area, we have focused on the proper coupling of the three lower network protocol layers (physical, MAC and network). At the physical layer, a solar power unit was developed bearing in mind during its design on the cost and operational constraints: number of units to be deployed in harsh environmental conditions. The operation of the MAC and routing protocols was conditioned to the power budget delivered by the energy storage unit: an ultracapacitor. 

The management of the energy stored in the energy storage unit was conditioned to the weather conditions and requirements of the end application. The duty cycle of the MAC protocol is adapted to the energy stored in the ultracapacitor. Similarly, the routing and self-configuration protocol are driven by the load conditions of the various nodes. Two interesting demos were published by Díaz et al in INFOCOM’2009 and Royo e. al in INFOCOM’2010.  

At the MAC layer, A MAC protocol was developed ensuring the stability of operation of the overall network. A description was published by Royo et al in Globecomm 2009 and in EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking (doi:10.1155/2010/513527). The main objective has been to ensure the transfer of the data under many different conditions. We have in particular focused on the development of sensor networks to be used to monitor critical events, such as fire alarms. The MAC protocol has been designed to be able to quickly deliver the data to the control center while ensuring the stability of the network. These researches were developed in compose the Doctoral Thesis of Fernando Royo (April 2011).

At the network layer a new intelligent metric has been developed, a fuzzy-logic metric. We have published some descriptions in Hotmesh’2011 and ASCC’2011.These researches was developed in the Doctoral Thesis of Antonio M. Ortiz (July 2010).

By other hand, various mechanisms for multimedia data distribution based on cross layer techniques have been developed. In this task, we have developed a simple mechanism to deliver low-resolution images using the latest development on IP for WSN, i.e., 6LowPAN and the use of COAP, a middleware allowing us to manage the resource available in the network.

In order to be able to properly gather and manage the information captured by the network, we have collaborated with Nortel in the design of a simple synchronization mechanism for IP-based networks. The proposed mechanism has proven to accurately synchronize the various devices composing the network. A U.S. patent of the mechanism has been granted to our group: “Method and apparatus for time and frequency transfer in communication networks”.  A second U.S. patent on localization has also been granted to our group: “Method and System for Wireless LAN-based indoor position location”. The proposed mechanism has been designed for wireless local area network.  Such mechanisms are being explored worldwide to enable the development of added-value geographical referenced services.

We had a contract enterprise with Métodos y Tecnologías (www.mtp.es) (Spain). In this contract we have participated in various studies related to the area of middleware systems for wireless sensor networks. As part of these studies, we evaluate and tested various platforms which later were installed in the testbed deployed in our lab.

Another contract was realized with the WOrldnet 21 enterprise (Spain). We participated in the mIO! Project sponsored by the Ministry of Industry within the framework of the CENIT programme. The main activity involved the development of switching unit incorporating various types of communication technologies: Bluetooth, WIFI and Zigbee. The interconnection and hand-over functionalities were developed allowing the streamlined handling of various types of devices characterized by their processing capabilities and available communication technologies. 

With the INETSIS enterprise (Spain) we participated in the development of web-based applications allowing users to gain access to the services and devices of wireless sensor networks and servers deployed to control the environmental conditions and energy expenditures in intelligent buildings. This project counted with the participation of Acciona and it was sponsored by the Ministry of Industry.

Up to present, our efforts have focused on the design of simple and power-aware MAC protocols. We have carried out the performance evaluation of our proposals taking into account various topologies and channel characteristics: two main parameters to take into account on the design of protocols for resource constrained networks. We have also developed a prototype using off-the-shelf platforms. Ours results have shown that our proposals outperform some of the most relevant protocols reported in the literature.

Publications: [Roy08

Projects funded by Public Calls:  [Wisevine ] by  regional grants.

External collaborations Academia: Pedro Marrón, Thiemo Voigt, Mario Alves, Pawel KulakowskiJim MorrisonIvan Stojmenovic

External collaborations Industry: AVANZIT (Spain)Thales (France) and ACORDE (Spain)

Company Agreements:  INETSIS (Spain)Worldnet21 (Spain)Métodos y Tecnologías (www.mtp.es) (Spain)Nortel Networks Limited (Canada)

PhD dissertations: Fernando Royo SánchezAntonio Manuel Ortiz Torres

Patents: Method and System for Wireless LAN-based indoor position location. 2010Method and Apparatus for Time and Frequency Transfer in Communication Networks, 2009/2011