4, NOVEMBER 2011


Power-Aware System Design of Wireless Sensor Networks: Power Estimation and Power Profiling Strategies
Jan Haase, Senior Member, IEEE, Javier Moreno Molina, Member, IEEE, and Dietmar Dietrich, Senior Member, IEEE
(Invited Paper)

Abstract—Modern design of wireless devices requires the designers to have a special focus on power consumption to prolong the battery life of the final system. The designer therefore needs power consumption information very early in the process to be able to decide on system parameters, design methods, communication protocols, functionality restrictions. Typically, this is done by running simulations of the system to be developed and performing design space exploration. However, there is a tradeoff between speed and accuracy of simulation, therefore the designer has to be aware of available tools and simulation methods he can choose from to achieve the best possible solution for his case. This paper gives an overview over the currently existing simulators and simulation methods for fast system simulation with respect to power consumption and concludes with a vision of future simulator opportunities. Index Terms—Power estimation, power profiling, power-aware systems, simulation, simulator, wireless sensor network (WSN).

I. INTRODUCTION HE TYPICAL wireless device of today is from one of two classes. There are portable consumer products, small, easy to use, fun to use, smart helpers in daily life. Examples are mobile phones, MP3 players, portable electronic games, GPS devices, etc. The second class are wireless sensors in cars, airplanes, building automation or even at every single item found in a building or private home—the vision of the internet of things [1]. As the device is wireless, it has to run on battery power. The growing number of features of today’s consumer products need more and more power, so that battery lifetimes shrink considerably—e.g., many mobile phones have to be recharged every day [2]. In the area of sensor networks, sensors are part of a wireless network using up much energy for sending and receiving messages [3]. Typical examples are wireless light switches in modern buildings, or pressure monitors in car tires, which have to be able to send information about suddenly changing tire pressures. A low battery may render a safety device like this inoperable and thus be dangerous. Some of these devices are installed at remote or hard to reach places and hence cannot be
Manuscript received April 13, 2011; revised May 13, 2011; accepted July 18, 2011. Date of publication September 06, 2011; date of current version November 09, 2011. Paper no. TII-11-220. The authors are with the Institute of Computer Technology, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna 1040, Austria (e-mail: Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TII.2011.2166793


recharged easily. Energy efficiency is therefore very important in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) [4]. To tackle the problem of short battery lifetimes, system designers take the power consumption of the devices into account already at the time when they are developed. One approach is to include power saving features at run time like automatic shutdown of displays or clock gating to switch off unused parts of the device [5]. Another way is the estimation of power consumption for different sets of system parameters (e.g., duty cycles, communication protocols, bus widths, or processor types) in order to choose the design solution having the lowest energy consumption. This is mainly done by means of simulation, which has to be performed anyway to assure the correct function of the device. However, simulation is in most cases slow, i.e., in order to simulate all details of a system, the run time of the simulation is often higher by orders of magnitude than the run time of the final device itself [6]. This slowdown is further increased by including power consumption analyses into the simulation. This paper gives an overview over the existing solutions for fast system simulation with respect to power consumption. Section II explains the new dimension acquired by power aware and low-power approaches in the case of WSNs’ design compared to those in other embedded systems. Section III portrays the different motivations for simulation in WSNs, which are the foundations for WSN simulators presented in Sections IV–VI. Section VII focuses in power simulation, describing the required tasks. Section VIII introduces state-of-the-art approaches and tools for power simulation and profiling. This paper concludes in Section IX. II. POWER CONSUMPTION IN WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS (WSNS) The first concept that shall be clarified, in order to understand power concerned design is the difference between low-power and power-aware design. The former consists on consuming as less power as possible in every moment, no matter the longterm efficiency of the decision made. The latter tries to reach the highest efficiency, in terms of the metric the designer is trying to optimize, for a specific power budget. This distinction was already defined by Pedram et al. [7]. Even though both strategies have a lot in common, sometimes decisions to make may differ from one to the other. The essential starting point on the way to power optimization, is gathering knowledge about power consumption of the

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III. NO. or more focused in mobile ad hoc wireless networks. In those cases. In addition. applications and even hardware architectures. Nonetheless. One of the main characteristics of most WSNs is redundancy and fault tolerance. Virtual prototyping. • Network simulators: either general purpose. several simulator extensions already existed for ad hoc mobile networks. designed with WSNs in mind. extensions for those existing simulators were developed. Network profiles permit evaluating and improving protocols. in addition to hardware and software profiles. new simulators associated to them appeared as well. simulation helps with all hardware. In traditional embedded systems. Therefore. Apart from hardware energy consumption models. Software profiles are an old concept. In Fig. Simulation is a useful technique that assists the designer at many different stages and levels of the system development. first simulators were an evolution of previous ones but incorporating specific models that are important in WSNs. being among the most representatives those developed in Monarch project [20] or GloMoSim [21] and its commercial version QualNet [22]. In WSNs. communication and network-wide profiles are crucial in order to be able to optimize the network as a whole [13]. the power efficiency which concerned the designer was always within the boundaries of the embedded system. VOL. where real code applications could be simulated. processes and threads and therefore. provides reliable data about the system operation and can be used by the designer to test different hardware architectures before producing the real prototype. another important use of simulation is validation. Rialto software profiler [9] classified different threads into so called “activities. such as OMNeT++[15]. Once the different aspects and motivations of simulation for WSNs have been presented. This kind of profiling has already been ported to WSN in AEON [10]. • Machine simulators: such as Embra [16]. special conditions are easier to model on simulation rather than recreating them on a test platform. which can reach several years. These profiles enable identifying the contribution of software parts to power consumption. topologies. . a semantic gap between hardware power consumption and software power consumption. they could be fairly and efficiently scheduled in the CPU. even when propagation conditions are difficult to simulate. in systems with many nodes. not only the node local knowledge is required for power optimization. is completely impractical in a real platform. Although accurate models are preferred. Simulation is also a very powerful tool for software optimization. When specific operating systems appeared. based on SimOS [17]. and there are profiling add-ons in operating systems [11]. 7. Many software tasks involve several subsystems. Hence. even the notion of the system behavior provided by rough simulation models with coarse granularity can assist the designer to get an idea about what components have the most significant impact in overall power consumption. corner cases are easier to recreate in simulation than in a demonstrator. Soon. Besides. even those with network connectivity. and therefore profiles are required in order to sum all the related energy consumption. Complex programs involve many routines. High-level simulation. Validating big networks or evaluating nodes and network lifetime.602 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS. Although software can easily be tested on a real device. A preliminary simulation is one of the most valuable sources of information to make the best decisions when designing your system architecture. however. software and network design. such as TOSSIM (for TinyOS) or COOJA (for Contiki). the designer can focus on optimization of those tasks whose impact in power consumption is more significant. Finally. NOVEMBER 2011 system. Operating system emulators execute real code applications. Emulation permits executing nodes source code or instructions in a different machine and is usually combined with simulators. and even when focusing in one of them. In WSNs. Also. WSNs cannot be just evaluated as traditional embedded systems. information about resources utilization is difficult to obtain [8]. but a global network-wide knowledge as well. although oriented to power consumption. WSN must usually be considered as a whole single distributed system. There are mainly two starting points for WSN simulators. NETWORK AND PROPAGATION SIMULATORS Before the arising of WSNs.” By grouping threads into coherent semantic categories. as some requirements can be tuned finer after evaluating the network behavior. WSNS SIMULATION The need of a whole network model to evaluate applications and algorithms was one of the first motivations for simulation. IV. the same concept is needed. that emerged due to program complexity. 1. such as ns-2 [14]. the simulators presented in this paper are classified according to their predominant abstraction level. As WSNs are the convergence of different existing technologies. making possible the development of software at the same time as hardware and independent from it. Maximizing a node lifetime can be completely different from maximizing the network lifetime. 4. Thus. through behavioral or functional models. and SNOPS [12]. all these levels are strongly coupled. Furthermore. there were also analysis of energy consumption reduction by software optimization [18] and even energy simulation of a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) [19]. Quanto [11]. as a network may be completely functional in spite of having nodes with depleted batteries. provides a good overview of the system even at the very beginning of the project. Hence. testing the network behavior of different protocols implementation in the protocol stack would be very expensive. just before specific tools. once the operating system is fixed. it is easier to understand which of them have more presence in the available simulators and where their robustnesses and weaknesses are. the others shall still be taken into account in order to obtain satisfactory results. doing it on simulation permits gathering network-wide knowledge about resources utilization. energy simulation in microprocessor based systems was not a novel issue. There is already. However. this can be done by tracking energy consumption values of different subsystems.

TABLE I NETWORK SIMULATORS SUMMARY TABLE were released. However. Modifications were made to solve this issue. which is a general purpose network simulator. B. their performance is. The most important commercial general network simulator is OPNET [27]. One of those simulators was the network simulator ns-2 [23]. there is a new simulator intended to be a new improved version and eventual replacement of ns-2. although it is possible to include new modules. which also includes a wireless library. Simulators are classified in their predominant level. Abstraction levels of simulation in WSNs. While independent from ns-2 and not compatible. a very popular free discrete-event network simulator based on REAL simulator [24]. which can be reused in new projects. which is necessary to estimate power consumption. It was based on the ns-2 simulation core. which are briefly described in Sections IV-A–IV-I. Therefore. ns-2 applications are mostly generic traffic generators. they are not conceived for hardware modeling. Scalability was an issue as WSNs are usually large networks with even more than thousand nodes. although some of them permit cross-level simulation. named ns-3 [26]. First. The best advantage of ns-2. it added power models for the hardware components. from cycle accurate simulation to pure functional simulation. SensorSim added specific models required for sensor networks. For instance. all the other nodes received the signal. Second. making ns-2 much more scalable. WSN simulators consisted on extensions for more general network simulators. General Network Simulators First. Besides.: POWER-AWARE SYSTEM DESIGN OF WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS: POWER ESTIMATION AND POWER PROFILING STRATEGIES 603 Fig. ns-3. 1. ns-2 was not optimized for wireless ad-hoc networks. .HAASE et al. Due to the high-level abstraction of ns-2. SensorSim The first documented sensor network simulator was SensorSim [28]. poorer than in more specific simulators. apart from reusability of algorithms and protocols. in general. even when its strength was so low that influence in communication was negligible: neither can these signals be received by those nodes nor contribute to the received noise. Table I outlines some of these tools. whenever a node sent a message. SensorSim was already concerned about power as a restricting factor for WSNs deployment. A. SensorSim permitted simulating real applications as well as interacting with real nodes (hardware-in-the-loop). A truncation algorithm which prevents very far allocated nodes from receiving a signal was proposed in [25]. and OPNET tools is the amount of protocol implementations which already exist.

based on a general model which can be applied to other physical phenomena. and the high number of nodes integrating the network. mainly focused on specific proof of concepts. Sensor nodes gather the information. due to its general purpose nature. are of great importance. the balance tips in favor of performance. i.g.e. VisualSense provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for both building the simulation and showing the results. J-Sim. it provided also a Graphical User Interface (GUI).. target nodes and sink nodes. in a flexibility versus performance tradeoff. even though they incorporate some optimizations to model WSNs. The mathematical computation and visualization possibilities of MATLAB are lost. In the latter case. no more granularity is provided. This hardware-in-the-loop is done in both top-down and bottom-up directions. and continuous-time models [35]. real packets are intercepted and translated into J-Sim simulated packets. so that the application communicates with the virtual environment in the same way it communicates with the operating system. However. synchronous/reactive(SR). The name of this Java version is JProwler [30]. It supports several models of computation: process networks (PNs). basis. an integrated graphical development and simulation environment. i.11. hardware models would involve general purpose object-based or component-based simulations. no specific support for those models is included in JProwler. However. target nodes encapsulate it into a message and send them to the sink nodes.4. through Viptos [36]. make of VisualSense a very useful and easy to use simulator for small and generic high-level simulations. battery power. etc. due to the low-level details required to capture power consumption accurately. while other components are executed in a virtual environment.. Prowler has also the advantage of being able to exploit MATLAB visualization possibilities. This difficulty is tried to be compensated by providing a module library.. However. It includes several propagation models to estimate signal power loss. but node implementations other than MICA2 would require starting from the scratch. Therefore. component-based general purpose network simulation environment [32]. in comparison with radio models included in other simulators. The propagation model included in VisualSense is accurate. Furthermore. a socket layer is provided which replicates the interfaces of the actual operating system. or by directly programming them in Java.604 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS. the physical phenomena captured by sensors. the only implementation supplied is a MICA2 mote implementation with almost no modularity. while in WSNs. simulators like J-Sim and ns-2 are still inefficient in comparison with more specific simulators. is that it not only models the deterministic attenuation along distance. 3-D visualization. closely related to ns-2. but also includes a time variant factor. transceiver). NOVEMBER 2011 Finally. packet losses. pressure. collisions. NO. In the former case. . and therefore not suitable for reuse. Simulation performance is a constant problem in WSN simulation. new modules can be created by connecting some of them. VisualSense includes models for packets. E.15. Modules can be dragged and dropped and connected to build the desired scenario. Prowler has also been migrated to Java. It is developed in Java and based on the SensorSim simulation framework (see Section IV-B). dataflow (SDF). using a testbed with real nodes in the laboratory to execute some tasks. The advantage. and transmit antenna gain (directional antennas). Prowler Prowler [29] is a probabilistic WSN simulator. To sum up. the value of these positive features falls when modeling bigger and more complex simulation scenarios which require high simulation performance and automatic scenario generation. former JavaSim. J-Sim Another simulation framework for WSNs is J-Sim [31]. as ns-2. batteries) and energy-consuming components (e. where protocols can be tested in a real environment. Nonetheless. so that it is also valid for sensor physics.e. Power models are provided for both energy sources (e. it is difficult to understand why the only wireless MAC protocol distributed with J-Sim is IEEE 802. and performance would quickly deteriorate. Prowler and JProwler provide a complete and reusable radio propagation model. D. while the rest is executed in the simulation. it does not support hardware modeling. Nevertheless. Unfortunately SensorSim was soon discontinued and not available anymore. power loss. rendezvous-based models. In addition. While Prowler provides a very complete channel estimation model. it does not model noise. VOL. It is therefore. is difficult to use. Viptos is able to transform a diagram into a nesC program [37] (see Section V-A) which can be executed in a TinyOS platform. It provides a wireless sound detection model as an application scenario. an open source. Prowler includes a radio propagation model able to evaluate reception parameters and collisions. in favor of a greater flexibility which would permit modeling hardware components directly as Java objects. among others. written in MATLAB. 4. protocols like IEEE 802. which consume and process the information. There is also the possibility of executing TinyOS programs in Ptolemy. C. VisualSense exploits and extends the discrete-event domain of Ptolemy II. for simulating component-based WSNs models [34].g. Ptolemy II is an open-source framework for actor-oriented design which enables the construction of domain-specific tools. VisualSense VisualSense is a modeling framework. J-Sim supports network emulation. If modules included in VisualSense are not sufficient. of ZigBee specification. Another key feature of J-Sim is that it allows simulating mobile nodes. in spite of having components for power and sensor modeling. a message can be marked as corrupted or not corrupted. The graphical orientation and the flexibility concerning models of computation. It can create Ptolemy II models from nesC files as well.. 7. built on top of Ptolemy II [33]. such as temperature. The sensor simulator part of J-Sim differentiates between three types of nodes: sensor nodes. discrete-events (DEs). MATLAB simulation performance is good at channel estimation because it involves many calculations. As a result of a collision.

Simulation’s graphical user interface (GUI) is the one provided by OMNeT++. This makes PAWiS easy to use. which is designed for network modeling and runs into granularity problems when using it for hardware modeling. message passing infrastructure and discrete event simulation kernel. SENSE Another network simulator for WSNs is SEnsor Network Simulator and Emulator (SENSE) [38]. While more focused in WSN than other general purpose simulators. No noise or interference is modeled. G. the probability of receiving the message decreases linearly with distance. which is achieved through a reference counter which tracks the number of components referencing the message. which increases complexity and is costly in terms of simulation performance. there is a range in which the 100% of the messages are always fully received. but also provides a data structure able to gather meaningful information about effects on the whole network of node information exchanges. Dynamics of the network can be simulated at runtime through Lua scripting language [42]. so that sharing the same message is safe. SENSE is still a component-based simulator with a very poor component library. Besides.11. as the user can always start with a basic working simulation and progressively extend it. In this case. This information is very valuable for energy optimization. There are two options. to build a specific WSN simulator. COST is a component-based general purpose discrete event simulator. As a result. The module library consists of implementations of specific devices and protocols using the framework. The PAWiS project consists of several elements: a framework. SENSE exchanges the pointer to a message instead of the actual message. SNOPS is based on SystemC [48] and TLM 2. The user has therefore to provide his . The SNOPS library is independent from hardware models. there is also an extension which provides time annotation. The radio model is an enhancement of PAWiS’ model. GUI can be simplified or even deactivated for higher speed simulations. both intended for system-level design. as a general purpose simulator. so that it can include time-variant effects in the attenuation calculation.: POWER-AWARE SYSTEM DESIGN OF WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS: POWER ESTIMATION AND POWER PROFILING STRATEGIES 605 F. There are also components for battery models. no module library with implementations of either systems or protocols is provided. such as modules. The propagation model is quite deceiving as it models neither accurate attenuation nor noise. Even though SystemC and TLM are not designed for network simulation.0 (Transaction-Level Modeling) [49]. routing algorithms and MAC protocols [40]. However. The only problem is deallocation. which permits a more accurate simulation of noise and collisions. This propagation model simulates attenuation due to distance as well as interferences and noise. SNOPS SNOPS (Sensor Networks Optimization by Power Simulation) is a simulation library to develop WSNs [47]. as Prowler. and problems related to OMNeT++core. focused in power aware WSNs is PAWiS (Power Aware Wireless Sensors) [41]. the event-driven SystemC simulation kernel and TLM communication interfaces are abstract enough to be applied to network simulation. CSMA-MPS [44]. and in spite of being easier to use. It includes not only simple examples but specific power aware algorithms. but with bit-level collision simulation. such as S-MAC [43]. OMNeT++ is a component-based discrete-event simulation library for building network simulators. In order to improve performance. The module library includes simple implementations with basic functionality. which abstracts all end-to-end communications in a single data structure. and much less message allocation is required. This transaction comprehends the message generated by the sensor node and all its replicas generated through a multi-hop path. but takes advantage of OMNeT++core classes. as all interaction is captured by interfaces.HAASE et al. as it is not the same to receive an erroneous bit in the preamble as in the body of a transmission. it enables the use of SystemC and TLM for system-level design of the node architecture without incurring co-simulation. which provides some parameters about his algorithms. SENSE includes a rudimentary propagation model. With this enhancement. The message is not supposed to be modified during a transmission (except from noise. which are modeled separately). which then are computed to get the estimation of the number of CPU cycles required to execute them. and hardware models. H. One of those simulators. PAWiS Another popular network simulator is OMNeT++[15]. The main feature of SNOPS is its transaction concept. increasing the accuracy of the application simulation [46]. This supposes not only a performance improvement. components are more reusable and extensible than ordinary objects. which is not the most suitable standard for power aware sensor networks. SNOPS propagation model becomes one of the most accurate. so that interdependence is restricted. which is built on top of Component Oriented Simulation Toolkit (COST) [39]. There is a second model which includes some fluctuations. while keeping low-level accuracy. Outside this range. If the counter reaches 0. The PAWiS Framework models the physical layer and includes a propagation model. with time-variant effects. It provides no special assistance or integration for hardware models. which permits the inspection of the different elements at runtime. PAWiS Framework is not an extension of OMNeT++. The main drawbacks of PAWiS are some inefficiencies. CPU time estimation is left in hands of the system designer. but also makes the simulation very slow. based on allocation reduction. such as message replication for each peer to peer transmission. At the moment. Anyhow. delay and distortion. as it will be discussed later. a message is fully transmitted (without errors) to all the nodes within the stipulated range. which in dense networks lead to huge memory allocation. the MAC protocol included is IEEE 802. This way. In the first and simpler option. to keep it generic and maintain its flexibility. Component-based design is more suitable for network simulations. like Chipcon low-power transceiver CC2420 [45]. the message is deleted. applications. a module library and a visualization tool. all nodes receive the same message instead of one copy. As in J-Sim. such as fading or mobility.

B. Table II is a short reference to the simulators analyzed next. as SNOPS (see Section IV-H). It provides a set of useful interfaces at very different levels to make the development of applications easier. motivated the appearance of operating system emulation environments. which have very restricted resources. while satisfactory behavioral models of a WSN can be simulated. It can understand even some TinyOS applications through EmTOS [62]. which may differ in architecture. VOL. NOVEMBER 2011 TABLE II OPERATING SYSTEM EMULATORS SUMMARY TABLE own models. C. TOSSF TinyOS Scalable Simulation Framework (TOSSF) [58]. It includes also more sophisticated radio propagation and environmental models. Emstar is a framework to develop WSNs applications. that broadens TOSSIM scope beyond application verification. which have to be registered at low-levels to present high-level information [12]. Moreover. Propagation model is not as detailed as in SNOPS. However. such as interrupts are not captured. migrating the code from simulations to the real node required reprogramming and correcting bugs coming from bad assumptions. Therefore. A. together with the need of testing real-code applications before deployment. such as PowerTOSSIM for TinyOS v1. increasing its scalability and improving the environmental models. an operating system for wireless sensor nodes [54]. with different nodes. uses SystemC to simulate networks. an extension of C programming language specially designed for sensor networks [37]. For instance. there is the drawback of not being able to simulate heterogeneous networks. However. it permits simulating heterogeneous networks. However. as it is in more detailed cycle-accurate models. The main purpose of TOSSIM is to develop and test TinyOS applications in a simulation environment without installing them in the actual node. As a result. TOSSIM is a simulator for TinyOS. Precise CPU timing. SCNSL is. EmSim enables real-code simulation [63]. 7. [57]. adding some protocol and hardware implementations and a graphical user interface (GUI) [52]. so that both system and network design can be modeled in a single tool [50]. and it is included in the TinyOS distribution package. it does not capture energy consumption itself. TOSSIM permits simulating a network of thousand of nodes running the same application. Simulating many nodes is therefore feasible without having to execute many virtual machines.606 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS. a more realistic network and application behavior is achieved. The necessity to test the new supply of operating systems. It runs over Linux. which translates the TinyOS system API into the Emstar API. I.x [56]. EmSim provides a radio channel simulator and a sensor simulator. variables are stored in arrays. SCNSL Simulation of networked embedded systems motivated the development of SCNSL (SystemC Network Simulation Library). it become necessary to test applications. which. which worked in simulation but failed in embedded systems. but details about network behavior are lost. OPERATING SYSTEMS EMULATION With the development of different hardware platforms and operating systems. TOSSF is based on two previous mobile ad-hoc networks simulation tools: Dartmouth Scalable Simulation Framework (DaSSF) [59] and Simulation of Wireless Ad-hoc Networks (SWAN) [60]. in comparison with TOSSIM. at the moment. TOSSIM One of the first and most used simulators for WSN is TOSSIM [53]. . When used in pure simulation mode. EmSim/EmCee EmSim is a pure simulation environment which is provided as part of Emstar software environment [61]. 4. SCNSL Framework has been extended in IDEA1. Nevertheless. there is a lack of accuracy that is required to achieve reliable power estimation. work in progress and is still in beta status [51]. operating systems or applications. V. they are all simulated in the same process. This unification is necessary to provide energy profiles. TOSSIM includes an ideal environment model and a directed graph of bit error probabilities. The simplicity of the radio model increases scalability. with different node architectures. Unlike TOSSIM. However. CPU execution time is also missing in TOSSF. To be able to simulate many nodes efficiently. where each element belongs to a specific node. TOSSIM is an operating system-level simulator. but is able to calculate attenuation as a distance function and to detect collisions. is a TinyOS simulator. SNOPS provides structures to integrate those models. there are extensions for that purpose.x [55] and PowerTOSSIM 2 or PowerTOSSIMz for TinyOS v2. Those applications are written in nesC. NO. As TOSSIM. there is a data structure to create finite state machines and power consumption information can be recorded through an unified power logger. Radio propagation environment is modeled as a statistical process. Environmental models recreate the physics and metrics that stimulate the sensors. During compilation. operating systems and applications.

such as the MICA2. if environmental conditions are hard to reproduce. ATEMU includes an AVR emulation core. and therefore is not restricted to a specific operating system. which allows hardware-in-the-loop simulations. a unit disk graph model is included. Communication between COOJA and the compiled event-driven Contiki kernel is done through Java Native Interface (JNI) calls. it is still slower than TOSSIM. which permits executing simultaneous simulations of nodes at all the network. ATEMU depends only on the hardware it emulates. makes of ATEMU a very accurate but inefficient model. COOJA permits high-level Java node models. and in the overall simulation efficiency. However. with the possibility of modeling heterogeneous networks and creating cross-level simulations. operating system and hardware levels. an instruction set simulator. and a radio interference simulation model [68]. The main drawback of such flexibility is the effect of maintaining so many interfaces in scalability. It is implemented in Java. HARDWARE EMULATION Both network simulators and operating system emulators do not provide enough granularity level in order to validate and verify some aspects of wireless sensor nodes. operating system or hardware levels. this approach is very inaccurate. real hardware values may not be better than simulated ones. AVRORA. and able of emulating several nodes composing a network. The best advantage of COOJA is its flexibility. Link Quality Indicator (LQI) and Clear Channel Assessment (CCA). like AVRORAz [72]. as most simulators. AVRORA The second simulator presented here is the well-known AVR emulator AVRORA [70]. in order to evaluate WSNs in all network. which means that it has the ability to simulate nodes with different hardware architectures or operating systems. ATEMU also includes a radio propagation model based on distance attenuation which takes into account interferences from other nodes.. VI. D. A. is extensible. and should take into account the modulation of the received signals. Concerning the propagation models. they are not practical enough for hardware architecture design. AVRORA provides a cycle-accurate model of MICA and MICA2 motes. which allows emulation of the Crossbow MICAz mote and includes an indoor radio model. Although some estimations or code transformations can be made. The last official release is from 2005 and supports ATMega128. due to their lack of flexibility which prevents from easily replacing models in the simulation. ATEMU The first simulator to provide a low-level cycle-accurate CPU model was ATEMU [69]. in the latter case by wrapping the Mote code in the already mentioned EmTOS tool. Although COOJA is really flexible and permits cross-level and heterogeneous simulation. while running the other elements in a simulation machine. it includes also MSPsim. Hence. Apart from the effect on performance of cycle-accurate modeling. it is primarily a Contiki emulator. However.4 Standard [73] compliant simulations [74]. Apart from operating system emulation. and some successful extensions have been developed. one important approach is to use instruction set simulators and cycle-accurate models of the hardware. such as radio transceivers or sensors. The objective was accomplished resulting in a cycle-accurate and scalable WSN simulator. as well as the already mentioned indoor radio model. In addition AVRORAz extends AVRORA to create IEEE 802. On the other hand. and they have to be created for an specific hardware architecture. In the distribution. Interfaces for hardware-in-the-loop simulation are provided by EmCee and are very useful when the environment of the application scenario is easy to recreate and propagation and sensed physical magnitudes can be tested with realistic values. custom models can be easily plugged in in COOJA. making the algorithm that keeps track of received power a n-squared algorithm. timing information about the CPU is required. AVRORA radio model does not include noise simulation.: POWER-AWARE SYSTEM DESIGN OF WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS: POWER ESTIMATION AND POWER PROFILING STRATEGIES 607 An advantage of EmSim is that it supports an emulation mode. These extensions include the address recognition algorithm.e. Hardware emulation permits also simulating nodes with other operating systems other than Contiki. at least the micro-controller family must have been already decided. While there were already emulators for processors. All this flexibility makes of COOJA a very interesting simulation environment. It could even help to develop an operating system itself. with network functionality and coarse granularity. to simulate cycle-accurate models [66].HAASE et al. where real Contiki code can be tested. i. COOJA COOJA is a simulator for the Contiki [64] operating system for sensor nodes [65]. Unlike TOSSIM. although these models are the only to provide fine granularity about hardware models.15. frame acknowledgement. using real hardware. but calculates interference by doing an arithmetic OR with bytes received (correctly synchronized). B. There are also extensions for ray-tracing based radio medium model [67]. in order to model obstacles. and was created to overtake ATEMU performance while keeping the cycle-accurate granularity [71]. the main drawback of these models is that such a degree of accuracy prevents them from being generic. ATEMU was the first emulator tool actually focused on WSNs. with significant scalability problems. Before using a cycle-accurate model. together with the interference radio model. . and is suited therefore to emulate nodes based on AVR micro-controllers. in terms of the number of nodes that can be simulated. Cycle-accuracy. ATMega32 and ATMega16 micro-controller models. Another difference regarding TOSSIM is that EmSim offers interfaces for heterogeneous simulation. such as TinyOS. Nevertheless. In order to accurately evaluate power consumption.

Furthermore. VII. NOVEMBER 2011 C. In most popular simulators. This information is provided by cycle-accurate models. Battery Models Apart from modeling power consumption. POWER SIMULATION AND PROFILING APPROACHES In power simulation. such as Rakhmatov–Vrudhula (R-V) battery model [76]. Some of these extensions also deal with power profiling. Nevertheless. A. The second is to take the information provided by those power models and order it in what are called profiles. MSPsim MSPsim is an instruction level emulator of the MSP430 microprocessor series [75]. an electric motor whose power consumption is a function of the rotation speed. multiple instances can run in a single process. with each state associated with its corresponding current draw value. 7. The unknown factor. This tradeoff determines the different approaches in power simulation. MSPsim is specifically designed for sensor network simulation and for integration in COOJA. which has to be determined by simulation is therefore. which are the most common power supply. Unfortunately. However. that even most detailed models can significantly deviate from reality. such as sensors. have a nonlinear behavior depending on so many variables. This information has to be gathered at a very low-level in order to be accurate. the framework is also able to simulate devices with an undefined number of states. so that it becomes meaningful for the designer. However. where different battery models can be easily attached. It is also based in Java. The most extended approach of power models consist on Finite State Machines (FSM). such as temperature.608 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS. so that simulation of different architectures at that level becomes unfeasible. Energy consumer devices are assumed to be modeled as finite state machines. which also considers the nonlinear behavior. modeling state transitions on CPUs requires accurate information about the processing time needed to execute the implemented algorithms. so that the application and network protocols developer can obtain knowledge about power consumption referred to both software and network tasks. this energy framework provides no energy profiling tools. as power models are defined based on hardware models and specifications. giving examples of some abstractions made in all the three perspectives: hardware. specific extensions were developed later on top of them. Due to the importance of power consumption in WSNs. software. . Power consumption information is normally associated to the hardware subsystems. a semantic gap between power consumption information and software and network designers. B. Therefore. It includes also an event-based simulation of typical WSN peripherals. communication and network tasks involve subsystems from different nodes all over the network. However. NO. In the case of energy sources. communication ports. 4. such a fine grained detail level not only slows the simulation but is also strongly dependant on the processor. state transitions are usually triggered by the CPU or determined by the protocols and are easy to predict and track. and extensible framework is presented in [78]. there are two main tasks to take into account: the first one is to create accurate power models for both producers and consumers. A. in order to accurately evaluate the lifetime of a node. e. However. Fig. Energy Framework for NS-3 As ns-3 is a very generic network simulator. An integrated. VOL. VIII. in search of the best balance depending on the designer needs. Profiles aim to provide meaningful information associated with software and network power consumption in order to optimize it. Power Profiling While most simulators focus on power modeling. as long as the current draw value can be estimated as a function of any other magnitude. at the moment only a simple linear battery implementation is documented [77]. but also a R-V model. modular. There are also analytical models which are able to predict battery lifetime and model nonlinearities. EXTENSIONS TO WSN SIMULATORS Different states and the power consumption at each state are usually specified in the device datasheets. where power simulation was not considered at first. C.. when provided. and network. power supplies must also be modeled. software tasks involve several hardware subsystems at the same time. Simplest models consider fixed capacity of the batteries and simply subtract energy consumption costs until capacity is depleted. batteries. However. it includes not only a basic linear battery model. etc. specific energy frameworks have been developed. 2 depicts the different directions in which low-level power consumption data has to be abstracted. creating profiles is even a more crucial task. In transceivers. based on two parameters which can be either estimated or obtained from datasheets.g. Power consumed by a specific subsystem is calculated as the product of the different power values of every and the time spent by the subsystem at the state corresponding state. The rest of its features are those obtained from COOJA integration described in Section V-D. The energy consumed by a node is the sum of the energy consumed by its subsystems . There is also an extensible framework for OMNeT++. This framework provides models for energy sources and consumers and interfaces between them. There is therefore. most simulators include different strategies to estimate it. Power Consumer Models Power models of energy consumer devices usually depend on the accuracy they are modeled with. the time spent at each state.

Although there are also software components. As the main approach to power modeling is the definition of finite-state machines. In IDEA1. can be applied after execution. In addition. B. and is therefore not cycle-accurate. introduced in Section IV-I [82]. There are TLM cycle-approximate RTOS [79] and OpenRISC TLM models [80]. based on state transitions logged at runtime. so that software profiles cannot be created. software. D. This means that. an Instruction Set Simulator (ISS) has also been used together with the SNOPS library [81]. as long as the state machine scheme remains the same. and network. C. Information in the power logger is not only labeled with node and hardware device information. No software or network profiling tools are included. SNOPS provides its own finite-state machine object. This energy consumption model can organize the information based on the hardware device and their states. 2. In addition. Profiles are associated with components reporting power state transitions. several power models. relieving the designer from manually checking transitions. It does not provide energy models itself. created with both SystemC and TLM. In the PAWiS module library. it is automatically registered in a unified power logger. E. PAWiS includes a power visualization postprocessing tool which graphically represents the information from the power logs. timing of the microcontroller unit is estimated from software assembly code. there is no tracking of the power consumed below. the SNOPS state machine prevents from triggering forbidden transitions. granularity of CPU models is not fine enough to obtain accurate timing. PAWiS Power simulation is not supported directly in the framework.HAASE et al. Data about power states and states transitions is recorded and interpreted in three different directions: hardware. there are implementations of transceivers and CPUs. It creates per-node and per-component energy profiles. Moreover. PowerTOSSIM PowerTOSSIM is an extension to TOSSIM to model energy consumption. and with the SNOPS transaction identifier. . but also with so called activities. with different power consumption values for each state. IDEA1 is not a real-code emulator. However. IDEA1 An energy consumption model has been developed also for IDEA1 simulator. This model is based on finite-state machines. However. Once defined by the user. which are hardware simulation components. but includes the glue to integrate different power models with different accuracies and to create unified and configurable power profiles from them. Accuracy of the model is subject to IDEA1 accuracy. SNOPS SNOPS was designed with power optimization in mind.: POWER-AWARE SYSTEM DESIGN OF WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS: POWER ESTIMATION AND POWER PROFILING STRATEGIES 609 Fig. the framework includes an interface to model CPUs and a power meter class where power related information can be reported to be logged. whenever a state transition occurs. The accuracy of energy consumption estimations depend on the system-level models. so that these estimations are not as reliable as in other simulators. which can provide fine grained simulation of the CPU. In addition. which can be defined by the software developer.

IX. While simulation performance tends to be less a problem with newer simulation machines. so that accurate energy consumption estimations become meaningless and therefore useless for energy optimization at those levels. sensing. This way. Hence. In the latter case. NOVEMBER 2011 Accuracy of PowerTOSSIM is restricted by TOSSIM limitations. or reception. Network simulators provide protocols and propagation models but lack low-level details which are crucial to accurately estimate power consumption. If the data set keeps growing. a newer version.4 [10]. PowerTOSSIM and TOSSIM are both distributed together with TinyOS. COOJA The power profiling tool used in COOJA consists of an integration of the power profiler used in the Contiki operating system [83] into the COOJA/MSPsim simulation. 4. emulation is independent from the operating system. Energy estimation in Contiki consists on recording time stamps whenever a component is activated and making the corresponding calculations based on the time difference when the component is deactivated. while increasing complexity. avoiding simulator coupling. However. NO. it can also work at runtime. In spite of being a postprocessor. and it will be necessary to apply data mining techniques in order to handle such an amount of information. the main difficulty seems to be filling the semantic gap between low-level details and high-level simulation. All of them could be evaluated and solved through simulation. PowerTOSSIM was developed on top of TOSSIM for TinyOS 1. respectively.. Apart from estimating the energy consumed by every node component. real cross-level design. it is able to capture low-level details which are crucial for an accurate energy consumption estimation. When TinyOS 2. F. and they tend to forget the importance of higher levels. emulation is only valid for a specific hardware configuration. VOL. AEON There is a power extension for AVRORA. the same simulator could realistically be used for such disparate applications as network traffic simulation or temperature estimation on a multicore system. in this case power profiles.e. with distance attenuation but without modeling noise. Operating system emulators provide real code emulation but still do not capture microcontroller timing. AEON creates also profiles on what they called routines. On the other hand. However. CONCLUSION As described in previous sections. In addition not all the node components are supported by AVRORA and AEON. required for energy consumption calculation. PowerTOSSIM2. Thus. This not only would suppose a boost to simulation performance. there are several difficulties in energy aware WSNs design.x. such as software and network. there are many tools with different approaches and no clear winner. and above all. Furthermore. log files become unmanageable. the amount of data available from a simulation grows enormously. the results are still restricted to MICA2 motes. simulation could be distributed among the cores within a single machine (currently up to 1024 cores in a single commercial Graphical Processing . to provide the users with relevant information depending on their interests. It can be expected that in the future. which are the specific tasks realized during operation. but synchronization was a bottleneck [85]. As AEON runs over AVRORA. The advantage of COOJA is that the model has been validated and can work over MSPsim. PowerTOSSIMz extends the latter one for MICAz nodes [57]. PowerTOSSIMz includes a battery postprocessor model which simulates the nonlinear discharging of the battery. but neither software profiles nor network profiles are provided. G. The previous classification and brief description of some notable simulators aims to assist the designer making the decision of what simulator to use and to calibrate the expectations about what can be obtained through simulation depending on the chosen simulator. PowerTOSSIM separates tasks in blocks and uses a code-transformation technique to estimate the number of CPU cycles they require. with multicore processors. However. it is possible to estimate the lifetime of a node. which are mainly the network and propagation behavior and the inaccuracy capturing CPU timing. The pros and cons of AVRORA and AEON are determined because of emulation. some simulators will reach completeness. 7. The network-wide energy profiling problem is not addressed by PowerTOSSIM. but would also enable multilevel. a big effort must be made in data representation. In the former case. low-level transmission. which is cycle-accurate. Distributed simulation attempts have been made. Simulators are continuously increasing their range of models and applications. deviation still exists in comparison with cycle-accurate models when many asynchronous events (like interrupts) take place. Nevertheless. It implements a stochastic approach to battery model. Timeline is a visualization tool for COOJA with special focus on power consumption [84]. mainly in simulation performance and network and propagation modeling. There are therefore both bottom-up and top-down evolutions from cycle-accurate and high-level simulation models. In order to provide real versatility. was released. they have severe deficiencies. apart from the different target architecture. was created. so that a single simulator will be able to model everything needed in WSNs. On one hand. even when it is possible to simulate applications for different operating systems. power consumption information is not interpreted beyond the local node perspective. However. called AEON and included from version 1. new possibilities for simulation have arisen with multicore processors. PowerTOSSIM does not enhance TOSSIM’s propagation model. AEON also includes a free-space radio propagation model for AVRORA. such as routing. which have a huge impact in overall WSN lifetime. Nevertheless. Hardware emulators are the only to accurately estimate energy consumption.x.610 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS. PowerTOSSIM and PowerTOSSIM2 were created for MICA2 motes. Nevertheless. i. which has to be accomplished through profile creation.

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wireless sensor networks. Dietmar Dietrich (M’96–SM’04) became Professor of Computer Technology in 1992. cognitive science and communication systems. power consumption simulation. His research interests are digital ASIC design. Currently. degree at the Institute of Computer Technology. and initiator of IEEE/IES/TC BACM and twice its TC Chair. from 1999 to 2008. degree in telecommunications engineering from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. His research interests are network engineering. and the International Biennial Fieldbus Conference FeT. Vienna. He has been Associate Editor for EURASIP. smart energy demand. .: POWER-AWARE SYSTEM DESIGN OF WIRELESS SENSOR NETWORKS: POWER ESTIMATION AND POWER PROFILING STRATEGIES 613 Javier Moreno Molina (M’08) received the M. Dr. fault-tolerant systems. He founded the Center of Excellence for Fieldbus Systems in 1994. He has worked in several research projects about network simulation. the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL INFORMATICS (TII). Vienna University of Technology. Vienna. Spain.HAASE et al. He was ADCOM member. Madrid. Austria. HW/SW/network codesign. and home automation. Austria. He became a member of the board of the OVE in 2002 and was Vice President until 2008. Vienna University of Technology. He was a delegate of the OVE and ON in CEN and CENELEC. and optimization and wireless networks simulation. He has been Head of the Institute of Computer Technology. in 1995. Dietrich was Chair of Section Austria from 2006 to 2008.Sc. and Industrial Electronics (TIE). especially on fieldbus and communication systems for smart grids. he is working towards the Ph.D.