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IOSR Journal of Electronics and Communication Engineering (IOSR-JECE)

e-ISSN: 2278-2834,p- ISSN: 2278-8735.Volume 10, Issue 5, Ver. II (Sep - Oct .2015), PP 65-70
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An Improved Method for Sensor Node Failure Detection in


Wireless Sensor Networks
1

Swathi Ravindran, 2Bindu Sebastian, 3Jerrin Yomas


1

1,2,3

MTech Scholar,2,3Asst. Professor, ECE


Vimal Jyothi Engineering, College, Chemperi, Kannur, Kerala, India

Abstract: Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have wide spread real world applications in recent times. WSNs
contain many portable sensor nodes. Due to the advance in the microelectronic fabrication technology portable
sensor nodes are manufactured at low cost. So large numbers of sensor nodes are incorporated in WSNs to
improve the Quality Of Service (QOS) of the network. On incorporating many sensor nodes in a network the
probability of sensor node failure will increase which in turn will degrade the Quality Of Service. So to improve
the QOS under failure condition the faulty nodes have to be identified and replaced. So a method is introduced
in which the RTD time of RTPs are measured and compared with a pre-defined threshold value and faulty nodes
are detected.
Index Terms: Sensor faults, Round Trip Path, Round Trip Time

I.

Introduction

Wireless sensor nodes can sense the variations in the environment and physical quantities. The sensed
data is transmitted from the sensor node to a base station called sink node, which may be a laptop or desktop
like powerful machine. Sink nodes are located far away from the sensor nodes. There are intermediate nodes to
route the data from sensor node to the sink node by single path or multipath routing and thereby forming a
network. Sensor nodes have mainly four components, a sensor, a processor, a radio transceiver and a power
supply or a battery. Cost of manufacturing portable wireless sensor nodes with better sensitivity and accuracy
has been reduced due to the rapid advancement in the electronic fabrication technology. Hence it has lead to the
use of large number of portable and light weight sensor nodes in a Wireless Sensor Network.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have many applications in the field of surveillance, remote sensing,
traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, health care, industrial monitoring, home security, military operations
and so on and thus WSNs can connect the physical world to the virtual world. It can monitor moisture,
temperature, stress, daylight etc in real time and can operate devices like switches, actuators, motors that control
these physical conditions and thereby it can establish a reliable communication through the network. The
Quality Of Service (QOS) of a WSN can be increased by incorporating many sensor nodes in a network. As
number of sensors in a WSN increases the probability of sensor node failure will increase because the nodes are
battery powered and have only limited computational power. The node batteries cannot be replaced eventually.
Communication with the other nodes and sensing the local information consume large amount of energy.
Sensor node failure will result in degradation of the QOS of the entire WSN. Hence the data analyzed using
such nodes may be incorrect as it has deviated from the mean value. So it becomes necessary to replace the
faulty sensor nodes by identifying the faulty nodes and detaching them to improve the QOS of the WSNs.
Wireless sensor node may go faulty due to the changes in the environment, climatic changes, enemy attacks,
faults that may occur in the sensor node during its fabrication, power depletion of batteries and when the node is
out of communication range hence resulting in the failure of communication and sensing modules.
We can detect the faulty sensor nodes in a WSN by a method of measuring the Round Trip Delay time
of Round Trip Paths [1] formed by combination of nodes. RTD time of discrete round trip path is measured and
is compared with a threshold value and faulty nodes can be detected. This method in detail is explained in the
section IV.

II. Methods To Detect Faulty Sensor Nodes


Faulty sensor nodes degrades the quality of service as well as it impose a burden on the energy leading
to energy depletion as each node has limited amount of energy to transfer the data being sensed from base
station to collecting centre or the sink node. There are several methods to detect the sensor node failure.
Method1: The diffusion of decision is made at each node after comparing the neighboring nodes and faulty
nodes are identified. But this method fails to detect the malicious node using the algorithm specified for this
method.
Method 2: To avoid the network split in the presence of inactive nodes, Cluster head failure recovery technique
[5] is introduced by maintaining the cluster structure in order to detect the sensor node failure in a specific
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An Improved Method for Sensor Node Failure Detection in Wireless Sensor Networks
Wireless Network. The drawback of this method is that the data is lost as the cluster head is transferred. But on
using this method better optimization of the network is achieved
Method 3: This method uses path redundancy technique [6] to detect the sensor node failure. Method is not
widely used as more energy is consumed because of the redundancy .The network speed as well as the number
of correct results throughout the lifespan of the network decreases on using this method.
Method 4: Single-Link Failure Detection in All-Optical Networks Using Monitoring Cycles (MCs) and
Monitoring Paths (MPs) [7] for identification of the link failure can be used detect the network failure. Three
edge connectivity in WSNs and separate wavelengths for monitoring cycles and locations are the draw backs of
this method.
Method 5: By measuring the Round Trip Delay time of Round Trip Paths [1] formed by combination of nodes.
RTD time of discrete round trip path is quantified and is compare with a threshold value and faulty nodes can be
detected if the RTD time is greater than the threshold value or if the RTD time goes to infinity. Out of these five
methods described above the Method 5 is more efficient for detecting and locating the faulty sensor nodes. The
Sensor node failure detection by measuring the RTD time of Round Trip Path is accurate and offers less
redundancy therefore on using this method the energy consumption can be reduced. Moreover the data loss is
less as malicious nodes are easily detected and located using this method. The method 5 is explained in detail in
Section IV.

III. Related Works For Finding Faults


The related works for finding faults in Wireless Sensor Networks using different methods stated above
are described in this section. The existing works could impose a burden on the energy and could degrade the
quality of service. A Weighted Median Fault Detection Scheme (WMFDS) [11] in which the binary decisions
and the real number measurements of the sensor nodes are weighted and the difference between the
measurements are characterize using the WMFDS method. The design of a Distributed Fault-Tolerant Decision
Fusion [12] with sensor faults when decisions sent to the fusion centre sequentially by local sensor is addressed.
A Collaborative Sensor Fault Detection (CSFD) [4] scheme is used to eliminate unreliable local
decisions when distributed decision fusion is performed. A distributed solution for a canonical task in WSNs
[13] where the interesting environmental events are binary detected. For detecting and correcting faults a
distributed Bayesian scheme is developed. Cluster head failures in clustered Underwater Sensor Networks
(UWSNs) [14] are detected and hence fault detection is carried out. Each cluster member detects the fault
status of the cluster head and employs a distributed agreement protocol that agrees upon the fault status of the
cluster head. The network uses TDMA MAC protocol which in turn runs with normal network operation by
the periodical distributed detection at each cluster member. An energy efficient fault-tolerant detection scheme
[18] is being introduced to detect faults in a Wireless Sensor Network in which sensor fault probability is
introduced into optimal event detection scheme. As neighborhood size increases optimal detection error
decreases exponentially. Measurement faults and noise are stochastically unrelated and spatial correlation exists
between the events measured. Distributed fault detection algorithm for wireless sensor networks [15] is
proposed where sensed data is compared with some threshold and the nodes identify their status. On rebuilding
routing topologies the failures are recovered and the unnecessary traffics are eliminated. An evaluated localized
fault detection scheme [9] is proposed by which faulty sensor nodes are detected. On using Distributed Fault
Detection (DFD) the fault detection accuracy will decrease when the node neighbors are small and the node
failure ratio is high. When there are many neighbors of the nodes high accuracy can be obtained.

IV.

Round Trip Delay (RTD) & Round Trip Path (RTP)

Sensor node failure detection based on round trip delay and paths in wireless sensor networks has
mainly two parts. In the first part an assumption that all nodes work correctly and no nodes are faulty is made
and a threshold value measuring the RTD time of RTP is set. In the second part discrete RTPs are selected and
their RTD time is compared with predefined threshold value that is set in the first part. A circular network
topology with six sensor node is as shown in the figure1.In the presence of faulty sensor node the Round Trip
Delay of Round Trip Paths will change to infinity or greater than the threshold value that is set. Sensor nodes
that are common to those discrete RTPs with infinite RTD time [1] are detected to be failed.

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An Improved Method for Sensor Node Failure Detection in Wireless Sensor Networks

Figure 1: Circular topology WSN involving 6 sensor nodes


If the RTD time is greater than the threshold value then sensor node is said to be faulty and detected
malfunctioning. The number of RTPs and RTD time determines the detection time of the faulty sensor nodes.
Detection time is minimized by measuring the RTDs and evaluating the RTPs.
A. Estimation of RTD time
The number of sensor nodes in the Round Trip path and the distance between the sensor nodes determines
the RTD time. On reducing the RTD time of RTPs high accuracy can be obtained. The distance between the
sensor nodes in a wireless sensor network depends on the application. On reducing the number of sensor nodes
in a network the RTD time can be decreased. Grouping minimum of three sensor nodes will form a Round Trip
Path. The efficiency of this method can be improved by reducing the Round Trip Paths. If there are three sensor
nodes in the RTP then the Round Trip Delay time for RTP with uniform sensor node pair delay [1] is obtained
by (1) as all the nodes are equidistant from each other due to circular topology. For a sensor node pair is the
uniform time delay.
RTD=3
(1)
B. RTP Evaluation
RTPs contain minimum of three sensor nodes. In order to detect the faulty sensor node the specific
RTPs to which the node belongs to are compared. The figure 2 shows a wireless sensor network with 6 sensor
nodes. Figure 3 shows the RTP of this wireless sensor network.

Figure 2: A wireless sensor network

Figure 3: A discrete round trip path


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An Improved Method for Sensor Node Failure Detection in Wireless Sensor Networks
Individual sensor nodes will be present in more RTPs. Fault is detected by comparing all these RTPs.
Thus the process of fault detection is delayed. There will be an exponential increase in the analysis time of
detecting faults as the number of sensor nodes increases. Comparison of all RTPs produced is not required to
determine the fault. So selection of RTPs is required to speed up the process. Hence optimization of RTPs is
done to minimize the detection time of faults. Then numbers of RTPs formed with m sensor nodes is given by
[1]
PM=N(N-m)
(2)
Where m is the number of selected nodes, P is the number of RTPs and N is the numbers of nodes in a
Wireless Sensor Network.
C. RTP Optimization
Only sufficient numbers of RTPs are selected in order to reduce the analysis time rather than
considering all RTPs to which nodes belong to. Maximum number of possible Round Trip Paths is created by
three sensor nodes. The optimization of RTPs is done as:
1)Linear Selection of Round Trip Paths: Few paths corresponding to the sensor nodes are selected instead of
considering all the RTPs of a network. In order to reduce the analysis time, the RTPs equal to the number of
nodes is selected. Six Linear RTPs for the wireless sensor network having 6 sensor nodes in the figure 1 is
shown in the figure 4.Each RTP is formed by the combination of three sensor nodes. The RTPs selected is called
Linear RTPs as there is a linear relation between P and N. Where P is the number of RTPs and N is the number
of nodes in a Wireless Sensor Network. The linear RTPs in WSNs with N sensor nodes can be written as [1] :
PL=N
(3)
Where PL denotes the number of linear RTPs. The analysis time ANL(L) for linear RTPs is given by [1]:
ANL(L)=N*3
(4)
2)Discrete Selection of Round Trip Paths: The analysis time is curtailed in the first level of optimization as a
result more number of RTPs will be present and the analysis time increases. So the second of level
optimization is done. Here only discrete paths are selected in order to minimize the number of RTPs. In this
case two consecutive paths will be ignored. As there are three sensor nodes in a Round Trip path RTP selection
involves three discrete steps. The equation to select the discrete RTPs in WSNs is given by [1]
PD=Q+C
(5)
Where Q=|_ N/m _| is the quotient and C is the correction fraction. C =0 if the
remainder R is 0 otherwise
C=1

Figure 4:Six linear RTPs


Figure 5 shows the discrete selection of two RTPS from the WSN shown in the figure 1 so as to reduce
the analysis time. Analysis time ANL(D) required for detecting fault in discrete RTPs is obtained by [1] :
ANL(D)=(Q+C)*
(6)

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An Improved Method for Sensor Node Failure Detection in Wireless Sensor Networks
Table 1: RTP comparison

Figure 5: Discrete Selection of two RTPs


D. Comparison of Linear, maximum, discrete RTPs

Figure 6: Linear, maximum, discrete RTPs for different values of Number of sensor nodes
The number of RTPs in the maximum case is very high. In the case of linear the number of RTPs is
reduced significantly. The selection of liner RTPs is high for large values of N. Optimization of RTPs is
obtained only in discrete case so the process of fault detection will be fast and less complex.
E. RTD time model
Apart from discrete RTPs two RTPs are required in the second and third level in order to identify the
faults. Hence total numbers of RTPs used to detect fault are given by [1]
PT=PD+L
(7)
Where PT is the total number of optimized RTPs and L is the total number of sensor nodes for the formation of
RTPs excluding the source node i.e., m-1. Generalized model of analysis time by selecting discrete RTPs in
WSNs having N sensor nodes and RTP created by grouping m sensor nodes is given by [1]
ANL(G)={|_N/m_|+C+(m-1)}*m
(8)
F. Algorithm to detect Node faults
After the discrete selection of RTPs with three sensor nodes threshold value of RTD time is found after
checking whether the sensor nodes are working properly without any faults. The source node value is
incremented by three for the selection of discrete RTPs and their RTD time is measured. During the execution
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An Improved Method for Sensor Node Failure Detection in Wireless Sensor Networks
the RTD time which is highest is set as the threshold value of RTD time for all the discrete RTPs. The selection
of threshold value should be proper otherwise the sensor node working properly may be misinterpreted as faulty.

Figure 7: The RTD time of linear RTPs


In the figure 7 the threshold value of RTD time is 3.4s as the highest value of the RTD time is
3.4s.Now the RTD time of discrete RTPs generated instantaneously is compared with the threshold RTD value.
The RTP having its RTD time greater than the threshold value is then analyzed for fault. After three stages of
examinations of that discrete RTP the exact location of fault is detected.

V. Conclusion
To achieve better Quality Of Service the data from the faulty nodes have to be discarded. An efficient
method is required to improve the Quality Of Service. The method of sensor node failure detection based on the
RTD time of discrete RTPs is energy efficient , accurate and has less redundancy which in turn would reduce
the energy consumption. The method will be more efficient if the RTPs obtained by discrete selection contain
three sensor nodes.

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