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This chapter presents an overview of the study and also spells out what we embarked to
achieve. Wireless sensor networks (WSN) has been recognized as one of the emerging technologies
in the field of wireless communication. They promise a lot of potential in monitoring physical
phenomena. This section highlights the technologies which has enabled the development of WSN.
One of the major drawbacks which hamper the operations of a WSN is lack of adequate energy in
the battery powered nodes. Use of energy efficient routing algorithms can go a long way in
alleviating this problem. Routing algorithms are specifically designed to address the energy crisis in
WSN. We propose RELAX protocol to improve energy efficiency capabilities in WSN.
1.1 Overview
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have been recognized as one of the emerging
technologies of the 21st century. They are expected to bring the interaction between humans and
environment to a new level by enabling remote monitoring of an environment. The technology,
however, is still in its infancy and is undergoing rapid evolution with a tremendous amount of
research effort in the networking community. “A sensor network is a deployment of massive
numbers of small, inexpensive, self powered devices that can sense, compute, and communicate
with other devices for the Purpose of gathering local information to make global decisions about a
physical environment”[1].
Wireless communication endowed with numerous advantages over traditional wired
network and enables to develop small, low-cost, low power and multi-functional sensing devices.
These small sensing devices have the capabilities of sensing, computation, self organizing and
communication known as sensors. Sensor is a tiny device used to sense the ambient condition of its
surroundings, gather data, and process it to draw some meaningful information which can be used
to recognize the phenomena around its environment. These sensors can be grouped together using
mesh networking protocols to form a network communicating wirelessly using radio frequency
channel. The collection of these homogenous or heterogeneous sensor nodes called wireless sensor
network (WSN) [1].
The ability of low cost, small size and easy deployment of the sensor nodes make it
possible to deploy them in a large number in an area to be investigated. Interestingly, unlike other
networks that performs poor with growth in their networks size, WSN get stronger and performs
better as much as number of nodes exceeds. In addition, without any complexity in configuration

network size can be extended simply by adding additional number of nodes. Therefore, it is said
that connectivity using mesh networking will occupy any possible communication path in search of
destination using node to node hoping. Owing all these considerable advantages, application
domain of WSNs varies from environmental monitoring, to health care applications, military
operation, to transportation, to security applications, to weather forecasting, to real time tracking[4].

WSN is the collection of hundreds or thousands of tiny sensor nodes having the abilities of
sensing, computations and communication among each other or with the base station. The
functional architecture of sensor nodes consists of four units which are sensor, CPU, radio and
power. Among these four units, three units are responsible for accomplishing a task while power
unit supplies energy to the overall operation. The function of sensing unit is to measure physical
conditions of the environment like temperature, humidity and pressure [5], the processing unit is
mainly responsible for processing the data (signals) while communication unit transmit data from
the sensor unit to the user through the base station (BS). These tiny sensor nodes are scattered
throughout the investigation area to acquire information from the environment, process it and then
transfers it to the base station [4].

According to [6] route selection of each message in communication pattern result in either
network delay by choosing long routes consisting many sensor nodes or degrade network lifetime
in terms of short routes resulting in depleted batteries. Besides, unnecessary load on a network and
delay in operation not only degrades application quality but also wastes network resources.
Furthermore, as WSNs deployment can be seen in critical applications so the demands for
application vary according to its nature. Different applications have different demands from
network which cannot be avoided. Therefore, there is a need of efficient routing protocol which
should not only be appropriate for the application demands but also assist network with respect to
its limited resources and performs well.
To identify and select best routing protocol for an application, it is required to understand
the strict demands of that application first and then to select the appropriate protocol to be
implemented and simulated. There are several routing protocols developed for WSNs. All these
routing protocols have different competing features and qualities. Therefore, the selection of correct
routing protocol is vital.

Figure 1.1 : Wireless sensor network [8]
Sensor nodes are deployed in environments where it is impractical or
infeasible for humans to interact or monitor them. These unattended nodes
may have effect on the efficiency of many military and civil applications such
as target field imaging, distributed computing, intrusion detection, security and
tactical surveillance, inventory control, disaster management and detecting
ambient conditions. Some applications require sensors to be small in size and
have short transmission ranges to reduce the chances of detection. These size
constraints cause further constraints on CPU speed, amount of memory, RF
bandwidth and battery lifetime. Hence, efficient communication techniques are
essential for increasing the lifetime and quality of data collection and
decreasing the communication latency of such wireless devices.
Unlike the mobile ad hoc networks, sensor nodes are most likely to be
stationary for the entire period of their lifetime. Even though the sensor nodes
are fixed, the topology of the network can change. During periods of low
activity, nodes may go to inactive sleep state, to conserve energy. When some
nodes run out of battery power and die, new nodes may be added to the
network. Although all nodes are initially equipped with equal energy, some
nodes may experience higher activity as result of region they are located in.
Communication pattern is intermittent and sensor applications are data-centric
in nature. An important property of sensor networks is the need of the sensors
to reliably disseminate the data to the sink or the base station within a time
interval that allows the user or controller application to respond to the
information in a timely manner, as out of date information is of no use and may
lead to disastrous results.

Another important attribute is the scalability to the change in network
size, node density and topology. Sensor networks are very dense as compared
to mobile ad hoc and wired networks. This arises from the fact that the sensing
range is lesser than the communication range and hence more nodes are
needed to achieve sufficient sensing coverage. Sensor nodes are required to
be resistant to failures and attacks. Information routing is a very challenging
task in Distributed Sensor Networks due to the inherent characteristics that
distinguish these networks from other wireless or adhoc networks. The sensor
nodes deployed in an adhoc manner need to be self-organizing as this kind of
deployment requires system to form connections and cope with the resultant
nodal distribution. Another important design issue in sensor networks is that
sensor networks are application specific. Hence the application scenario
demands the protocol design in a sensor network. Also, the data collected by
sensor nodes is often redundant and needs to be exploited by routing protocols
to improve energy and bandwidth utilization. The proposed routing protocols
for sensor networks should consider all the above issues for it to be very
efficient. The algorithms developed need to be very energy efficient, scalable
and increase the life of the network in the process.
Evolution of Sensor Network :
Sensor network development was initiated by the United States. The sensor network was
wired network that did not have the energy bandwidth constraints of wireless system. Modern
research on sensor networks started around 1980 with the Distributed Sensor Networks (DSN)
program at the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). These included acoustic
sensors communication (a high-level protocols that link processes working on a common
application in a resource-sharing network), processing techniques, algorithms (including self-
location algorithms for sensors), and distributed software (dynamically modifiable distributed
systems and language design).
Recent advances in computing and communication have caused a significant shift in sensor
network research and brought it closer to achieving the original vision. Small and inexpensive
sensors based upon micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) technology, wireless networking,
and inexpensive low-power processors allow the deployment of wireless ad hoc networks for
various applications. Routing in sensor networks is a very challenging task and different from
routing in either wired or other wireless networks, because of the many special characteristics of

WSNs. Due to these special characteristics, many routing solutions specifically designed for WSNs
have been proposed
The major components of a typical sensor network [9] are:
• Sensor Field: A sensor field can be considered as the area in which the nodes are placed.
• Sensor Nodes: Sensors nodes are the heart of the network. They are in charge of
collecting data and routing this information back to a sink.
• Sink: A sink is a sensor node with the specific task of receiving, processing and
storing data from the other sensor nodes. They serve to reduce the total number of
messages that need to be sent, hence reducing the overall energy requirements of
the network. Sinks are also known as data aggregation points.
• Task Manager: The task manager also known as base station is a centralised point
of control within the network, which extracts information from the network and disseminates
control information back into the network. It also serves as a gateway to other networks, a powerful
data processing and storage centre and an access point for a human interface. The base station is
either a laptop or a workstation.

Fig1.2: Sensor network architecture [9]

Data is streamed to these workstations either via the internet, wireless channels, satellite etc.
So, hundreds to several thousand nodes are deployed throughout a sensor field to create a wireless
multi-hop network. Nodes can use wireless communication media such as infrared, radio, optical
media or Bluetooth for their communications. The transmission range of the nodes varies according
to the communication protocol is used.
The Sensor Node :
A sensor is a small device that has a micro-sensor technology, low power signal processing,
low power computation and a short-range communications capability. Sensor nodes are

conventionally made up of four basic components as shown in Figure : a sensor, a processor, a
radio transceiver and a power supply/battery[3]

Fig1.3: Components of a Wireless Sensor Node [9]

Additional components may include Analog-to-Digital Convertor (ADC), location finding
systems, mobilizers that are required to move the node in specific applications and power
generators. The analog signals are measured by the sensors are digitized via an ADC and in turn fed
into the processor. The processor and its associated memory commonly RAM is used to manage the
procedures that make the sensor node carry out its assigned sensing and collaboration tasks. The
radio transceiver connects the node with the network and serves as the communication medium of
the node. Memories like EEPROM or flash are used to store the program code. The power
supply/battery is the most important component of the sensor node because it implicitly
determines the lifetime of the entire network. Due to size limitations of AA batteries or quartz,
cells are used as the primary sources of power. To give an indication of the energy consumption
involved, the average sensor node will expend approximately 4.8mA receiving a message, 12mA
transmits a packet and 5μA sleeping. In addition the CPU uses on average 5.5mA when in active
Wireless Sensor Node Communication Architecture: Protocol Stack :
Protocol stack combines power and routing awareness, integrates data with networking
protocols, communicates power efficiently through the wireless medium, and promotes cooperative
efforts of sensor nodes. The protocol stack consists of the physical layer, data link layer, network
layer, transport layer, application layer, power management plane, mobility management plane and
task management plane. The physical layer should meet requirements like carrier frequency
generation, frequency selection, signal detection, modulation and data encryption, transmission and
receiving mechanisms. The Data Link Layer should meet the requirements for medium access,
error control, multiplexing of data streams and data frame detection. It also ensures reliable point to
point and point to multi-hop connections in the network. The MAC layer in the data link layer
should be capable of collision detection and use minimal power. The network layer is responsible
for routing the information received from the transport layer i.e. finding the most efficient path for

the packet to travel on its way to a destination. The Transport Layer is needed when the sensor
network intends to be accessed through the internet. It helps in maintaining the flow of data
whenever the application requires it.

Fig1.4: Protocol stack of sensor network [9]

The application layer is responsible for presenting all required information to the application
and propagating requests from the application layer down to the lower layers. The application layer
software depends on the deployment and use of sensor networks. The power management plane
manages power utilization by the nodes. Mobility management plane is responsible for the
movement pattern of the sensor nodes, if they are mobile. The task management plane schedules
the sensing and forwarding responsibilities of the sensor nodes. Designing a network protocol for
such wireless devices should meet the limitations like limited channel bandwidth, limited energy,
electromagnetic wave propagation, error-prone channel, time varying conditions and mobility.

Characteristics of Wireless Sensor Networks :

WSNs have some unique characteristics. These are:
• Sensor nodes are small-scale devices with volumes approaching a cubic millimetre in the
near future. Such small devices are very limited in the amount of energy they can store or
harvest from the environment.
• Nodes are subject to failures due to depleted batteries or, more generally, due to
environmental influences. Limited size and energy also typically means restricted resources
(CPU performance, memory, wireless communication bandwidth and range).
• Node mobility, node failures, and environmental obstructions cause a high degree of
dynamics in WSN. This includes frequent network topology changes and network
partitions. Despite partitions, however, mobile nodes can transport information across
partitions by physically moving between them.
• The resulting paths of information flow might have unbounded delays and are potentially
unidirectional. Communication failures are also a typical problem of WSN.
• Another issue is heterogeneity. WSN may consist of a large number of rather different
nodes in terms of sensors, computing power, and memory.

1.2 Organization of the Thesis:

Chapter 1 describes Wireless Sensor Network in general in terms of motivation and then
follows by state of art and finally the whole thesis outline. Chapter 2 describes the literature review
in detail. Chapter 3 deals with the block diagram of the relax protocol operation. Various Routing
Techniques in Wireless Sensor Networks and description of relax protocol.

Wireless sensor networks consist of small nodes with sensing, computation, and wireless
communications capabilities. Many routing, power management, and data dissemination protocols
had been specifically designed for WSNs, where energy awareness is an essential design issue.
Routing protocols [1] in WSNs might differ depending on the application and network architecture.
This article presents a survey of state-of-the-art routing techniques in WSNs. Outline design
challenges for routing protocols in WSNs followed by a comprehensive survey of routing
techniques. Overall, the routing techniques are classified into three categories based on the
underlying network structure: flat, hierarchical, and location-based routing. Furthermore, these
protocols can be classified into multipath-based, query-based, negotiation-based, QoS-based, and
coherent-based depending on the protocol operation. Trade-offs between energy and
communication overhead savings in every routing paradigm is seen and also highlight the
advantages and performance issues of each routing technique.

Cluster-based routing protocols for large-scale WSNs have some advantages as compared to
a flat network topology. Clustering results in a reduced number of messages that propagate through
the network in order to accomplish a sensing task. It also offers an improved power control.
Clustering routing protocols have been developed in order to reduce the network traffic toward the
Sink LEACH [2] is a cluster-based protocol that utilizes the randomized rotation of cluster heads
to evenly distribute the energy load among the sensors in the network. In the LEACH protocol, the
sensor nodes organize themselves into local clusters, with one node acting as the cluster head (CH).
The LEACH mechanism includes the randomized rotation of the CH function among the sensor
nodes in order to not drain the battery of a single node. It also performs local data aggregation in
the CHs to reduce the amount of data being sent from the clusters to the Sink, which further reduces
energy dissipation and enhances the network lifetime.

Almost all of these routing protocols considered energy efficiency as the ultimate objective
in order to maximize the whole network lifetime. The introduction of video and imaging sensors
has posed additional challenges. Transmission of video and imaging data requires both energy and
QoS aware routing [3] in order to ensure efficient usage of the sensors and effective access to the
gathered measurements. QoS protocols in sensor networks have several applications including real
time target tracking in battle environments, emergent event triggering in monitoring applications

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are used in many applications in military, ecological,
and health-related areas. These applications often include the monitoring of sensitive information
such as enemy movement on the battlefield or the location of personnel in a building. Security [4] is
therefore important in WSNs. WSNs suffer from many constraints, including low computation
capability, small memory, limited energy resources, susceptibility to physical capture, and the use
of insecure wireless communication channels. These constraints make security in WSNs a
challenge. These issues are classified into five categories: cryptography, key management, secure
routing, secure data aggregation, and intrusion detection.

Wireless sensor networks (WSN) offer an increasingly attractive method of data gathering
[5] in distributed system architectures and dynamic access via wireless connectivity. Wireless
sensor networks have physical and resource limitations, this leads to increased complexity for
application developers and often results in applications that are closely coupled with network
protocols. In this paper, a data aggregation framework using SOAP (Simple Object Access
Protocol) [5] on wireless sensor networks is presented. The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)
is a standard web service middleware protocol for exchanging messages in distributed applications.
It is a protocol based on eXtensible Markup Language (XML), and being purely text-based means it
can be easily integrated with different programming languages and platforms. For this reason it is
an effective communication protocol for distributed systems. SOAP is however designed for
traditional computer networks and the limited resources of sensor nodes and the ad-hoc nature of
such architectures present a problem when developing middleware for WSN. This paper discusses
these issues and then detail the design and implementation of a SOAP-based framework on WSN

Wireless sensor networks are large scale networks consisting of a large number of tiny
sensor nodes and a few base stations [6], which communicate using multi-hop wireless
communications. The design of energy efficient routing protocols for such networks is a
challenging task, which has been in the focus of the sensor network research community in the
recent past. selecting the shortest route towards the base station causes the intermediate nodes to
deplete faster, which results in a decreased network lifetime (if we measure the network lifetime by
the time that lasts until the first node dies in the entire network). At the same time, always choosing
the shortest path may result the lowest energy consumption and lowest network delay globally.
Ultimately, the routing objectives are tailored by the application; e.g., real-time applications require
minimal network delay, while applications performing statistical computations may require
maximized network lifetime.

As an increasing number of electronic systems are powered by batteries, battery life

becomes a primary design consideration. Maximizing battery life [7] requires system designers to
develop an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the batteries that power such
systems, and to incorporate battery considerations into the system design process. Battery powered
systems, the battery life directly impacts the system's utility, and the duration and extent of its
mobility. The battery life of a system is determined by the capacity of the energy source (i.e.,
battery), and the energy drawn by the rest of the system. battery powered systems, the battery life
directly impacts the system's utility, and the duration and extent of its mobility. The battery life of a
system is determined by the capacity of the energy source (i.e., battery), and the energy drawn by
the rest of the system.

Smart environments represent the next evolutionary development step in building, utilities,
industrial, home, shipboard, and transportation systems automation. Like any sentient organism, the
smart environment relies first and foremost on sensory data from the real world. Sensory data
comes from multiple sensors of different modalities in distributed locations. The smart environment
needs information about its surroundings as well as about its internal workings. The information
needed by smart environments is provided by [8] Distributed Wireless Sensor Networks, which are
responsible for sensing as well as for the first stages of the processing hierarchy. The importance of
sensor networks is highlighted by the number of recent funding initiatives

Sensor network is a densely deployed wireless network [9] of small, low-cost sensors,
which can be used in various applications like—health, environmental monitoring, military, home,
gathering and sensing information in inhospitable locations etc. Wireless sensor networks monitor
and control physical environments from remote locations. Sensor nodes suffer various energy and
computational constraints for their low cost feature and ad hoc deployment method. Different
application areas of sensor networks consist different technical issues and researchers are currently
shedding their lights to resolving these issues. The prominent deficiencies are: energy efficient
routing, protocols, localization algorithms and system design. This survey paper will cover up all
these open research issues as well as their solutions and will point out and depicts all important
fields of sensor networks.
Most of the energy aware routing approaches for unattended wireless sensor networks
pursue multi-hop paths in order to minimize the total transmission power [10]. All sensor networks
data are routed towards a single sink (base-station), hops close to that sink become heavily involved
in packet forwarding and thus their batteries get depleted rather quickly. the potential of base-
station repositioning for enhanced network performance is done through addressing issues related
to when should the base-station be relocated, where it would be moved to and how to handle its
motion without any effect on data traffic.

Directed diffusion [11] is data-centric in that all communication is for named data. All
nodes in a directed-diffusion- based network are application aware. This enables diffusion to
achieve energy savings by selecting empirically good paths and by caching and processing data in-
network (e.g., data aggregation). directed diffusion can achieve significant energy savings and can
outperform idealized traditional schemes (e.g., omniscient multicast) under the investigated

A channel coding approach called diversity coding [9,12] is introduced for self-healing and
fault-tolerance in digital communication networks for nearly instantaneous recovery from link
failures. Need for rapid self-healing communication networks is increasing in importance as the
backbone network becomes concentrated into fewer high-capacity links. Self-healing networks is to
provide redundant network facilities for traffic rerouting.

Data produced by one or more sources usually has to be routed through several intermediate
nodes to reach the destination. Problems arise when intermediate nodes fail to forward the
incoming messages. The reliability of the system can be increased by providing several paths from
source to destination and sending the same packet through each of them (the algorithm is known as
multipath routing). Using this technique, the traffic increases significantly, through adding
redundancy then the trade-off [13] between traffic and reliability can be controlled.

Communication security and reliability are two important issues in any network. A typical
communication task in a wireless sensor network is for every sensor node to sense its local
environment, and upon request, send data of interest back to a base station (BS). The new scheme is
based on a distributed N-to-1 multipath discovery protocol, which is able to find multiple node-
disjoint paths from every sensor node to the BS simultaneously in one route discovery process.
Then, a hybrid multipath [14] data collection scheme is proposed. On the one hand, end-to-end
multipath data dispersion, combined with secret sharing, enhances the security of the end-to-end
data delivery in the sense that the compromise of a small number of paths will not result in the
compromise of a data message in the face of adversarial nodes.

In N-to-1 multipath routing protocol [15] it is able to find multiple node-disjoint paths from
every sensor node to the base station simultaneously in one route discovery process, we achieve
both more reliable and more secure data collection task in wireless sensor networks. While most of
multipath routing protocols are source-initiated and aim to find multiple disjoint or partially disjoint
paths between a single source-destination pair the distinct feature of our N-to-1 multipath discovery
protocol is that it is receiver-initiated (i.e., BS initiated) and at the end of one route discovery
process, the protocol finds every sensor node a set of node-disjoint paths to the BS simultaneously

A lightweight FEC (Forward Error Correction) coding algorithm [16] combined with a fault
tolerant routing scheme in wireless sensor networks (WSN) .this consist of coding-decoding
algorithm, lightweight FEC coding algorithm, which is XOR-based and requires little computing
time and storage costs. A fault tolerant routing scheme is presented, which makes retransmission
more efficient to avoid sending data from the failed paths. The combination of the FEC coding
algorithm and the routing scheme has the ability to configure the light weight Algorithm

Once the battery becomes fully discharged, a battery-powered portable electronic system
[17] goes off-line. Therefore, it is important to take the battery behavior into account. A system
designer needs an adequate high-level model in order to make battery-aware decisions that target
maximization of the system’s lifetime on-line. it allows a designer to predict the battery time-to-
failure for a given load and provides a cost metric for lifetime optimization algorithms, For
example, the task schedule and task execution parameters, such as the operating voltage and the
clock frequency, can be chosen so that the battery drain is minimized.

Diversity coding [18] is a method of protection against failures in a communication network

or a storage system, which is based on introducing a digital error correcting code across
independent links. This technique makes efficient use of the extra network capacity needed for
coding and has the additional advantages of being nearly instantaneous, not requiring a feedback
channel, rerouting, or resynchronization. Electrical and optoelectronic implementations, and a
signal estimation approach to combat channel noise and thereby improve the performance of the
analog diversity coding system. The most important advantage of this technique is in greatly
simplifying the encoders and decoders of diversity coding systems for high-speed networks, such as
fiber-optic wavelength division multiplexed networks.

Sensor networks differ from traditional networks in several ways: sensor networks have
severe energy constraints, redundant low-rate data, and many-to-one flows[19]. The end-to-end
routing schemes that have been proposed in the literature for mobile ad-hoc networks are not
appropriate under these settings. Data-centric technologies are needed that perform in-network
aggregation of data to yield energy-efficient dissemination. impact of source-destination placement
and communication network density on the energy costs, delay, and robustness of data aggregation.

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) consist of small nodes with sensing, computation, and
wireless communications capabilities. Many routing, power management, and data dissemination
protocols have been specifically designed for WSNs where energy awareness[20] is an essential
design issue. The focus, however, has been given to the routing protocols which might differ
depending on the application and network architecture. In this paper, presents a survey of the state-
of-the-art routing techniques in WSNs. The design challenges for routing protocols in WSNs
followed by a comprehensive survey of different routing techniques. Overall, the routing techniques
are classified into three categories based on the underlying network structure: °at, hierarchical, and
location-based routing. Furthermore, these protocols can be classified into multipath-based, query-
based, negotiation-based, QoS-based, and coherent-based depending on the protocol operation.

Wireless LAN (WLAN) technologies proliferate, it is becoming common that ad hoc

networks, in which mobile devices communicate via temporary links, are built using WLAN
products. In the IEEE 802.11b standard, the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) [21] scheme is used
as the only measure to enhance data confidentiality against eavesdropping. However, owing to the
well known pitfalls in Initialization Vector (IV) attachment in the ciphertext, the underlying 40-bit
RC4 encryption mechanism in WEP is unsafe regardless of the key size. On the other hand,
solutions involving replacement of RC4 by another cipher are not attractive because that may lead
to reconstruction of the whole system and result in high costs as well as redevelopment of the
products. In order to enhance the security on the existing development efforts, we propose a novel
multipath routing approach to combat the link insecurity problem at a higher protocol layer. This
approach does not require the application to use sophisticated encryption technologies that may be
too heavy burdens for mobile devices. Based on our suggested confidentiality measurement model,

we find that our proposed multipath ad hoc routing technique, called Secure Multipath Source
Routing (SMSR), is highly effective.

System model
3.1. Block Diagram and Description

Source Sensor
sensor node

Find the possible Collect sensor

path nodes

Collect the node and router


Send the packets

Select the efficient
using relax
path and Sink node

Base station or

Fig3.1: Relax protocol operation

3.2. Routing Techniques in Wireless Sensor Networks :

WSN Routing Protocols can be classified in four ways, according to the way of routing
paths are established, according to the network structure, according to the protocol operation and

according to the initiator of communications.

Fig. 3.2. Classification of Routing Protocols in Wireless Sensor Network

Routing paths can be established in one of three ways, namely proactive, reactive or hybrid.
Proactive protocols compute all the routes before they are really needed and then store these routes
in a routing table in each node. When a route changes, the change has to be propagated throughout
the network. Since a WSN could consist of thousands of nodes, the routing table that each node
would have to keep could be huge and therefore proactive protocols [21] are not suited to WSNs.
Reactive protocols [21] compute routes only when they are needed. Hybrid protocols use a
combination of these two ideas. But in general, routing in WSNs can be divided into three
categories named as flat-based routing, hierarchical-based routing and location based routing
depending on the network structure. In flat-based routing, all nodes play the same role. In
hierarchical-based routing, however, nodes will play different roles in the network. In location-
based routing, sensor nodes' positions are exploited to route data in the network. Furthermore, these
protocols can be classified into multipath-based, query-based, negotiation-based, QoS-based, or
coherent-based routing techniques depending on the protocol operation.

• Flat Routing (Data Centric Routing protocols) [19]:

It is not feasible to assign global identifiers to each node due to the sheer number of nodes
deployed in many applications of sensor networks. Such lack of global identification along with
random deployment of sensor nodes makes it hard to select a specific set of sensor nodes to be
queried. Therefore, data is usually transmitted from every sensor node within the deployment
region with significant redundancy. This consideration has led to data-centric routing. In data-
centric routing, the sink sends queries to certain regions and waits for data from the sensors located
in the selected regions.
Hierarchical protocols [20]:
The major design attributes of sensor networks are scalability. Since the sensors are not
capable of long-haul communication, singlegateway architecture is not scalable for a larger set of
sensors. Networking clustering has been pursued in some routing approaches to cope with
additional load and to be able to cover a large area of interest without degrading the
service.Hierarchical routing works in two layers, first layer is used to choose clusterheads and the
other layer is used for routing. To make the WSN more energy efficient, clusters are created and
special tasks (data aggregation, fusion) are assigned to them. It increases the overall system
scalability, lifetime, and energy efficiency.
Location-based protocols [20]:
In most cases location information is needed in order to calculate the distance between two
particular nodes so that energy consumption can be estimated. Generally two techniques are used to
find location, one is to find the coordinate of the neighbouring node and other is to use GPS (Global
Positioning System). Since, there is no addressing scheme for sensor networks like IP-addresses
and they are spatially deployed on a region, location information can be utilized in routing data in
an energy efficient way.
Multipath routing protocols [20]:
Multiple paths are used to enhance the network performance. When the primary path fails
between the source and the destination an alternate path exists that measured the fault tolerance
(resilience) of a protocol. This can be increased, by maintaining multiple paths between the source
and the destination. This increases the cost of energy consumption and traffic generation. The
alternate paths are kept alive by sending periodic messages. Due to this, network reliability can be
increased. Also the overhead of maintaining the
alternate paths increases.
Query based routing protocols [20]:
The destination nodes propagate a query for data (sensing task) from a node through the
network and a node having this data sends back the data to the node that matches the query to the
query that initiates. Usually these queries are described in natural language, or in high-level query
Negotiation based routing protocols [20]:
In order to eliminate redundant data transmissions, these use high level data descriptors
through negotiation. Based on the resources that are available to them, communication decisions
are taken. The motivation is that the use of flooding to disseminate data will produce implosion and
overlap between the sent data; hence nodes will receive duplicate copies of the same data. This
consumes more energy and more processing by sending the same data to different sensor
nodes. So, the main idea of negotiation based routing in WSNs is to suppress
duplicate information and prevent redundant data from being sent to the next
sensor node or the base-station by conducting a series of negotiation messages
before the real data transmission begins.
QoS-based routing protocols [20]:
In order to satisfy certain QoS (Quality of Service) metrics, e.g., delay, energy, bandwidth,
etc. when delivering data to the Base Station, the network has to balance between energy
consumption and data quality.


An energy efficient multipath routing protocol specifically designed for wireless sensor
networks (referred as RELAX). RELAX protocol tries to utilize the relaxation phenomenon of
certain batteries to increase the battery lifetime and hence increasing the overall lifetime of the
sensor network. Relaxation periods enable the battery to recover a portion of its lost power;
RELAX uses a link cost function that depends on current residual energy, available buffer size, and
link quality (in terms of Signal-to-Noise ratio) to predict the best next hop during the path
construction phase. RELAX routes data across multiple paths to balance the energy consumed
across multiple nodes and to increase the throughput as well as minimizing packet end-to-end
delay. Before transmitting the data, RELAX protocol adds data redundancy through a light weight
Forward Error Correction (FEC) technique [6] to increase the protocol reliability and resiliency to
path failures. Multiple copies of data are sent along different paths, allowing for resilience to path
failures. Load balancing can spread energy utilization across nodes in a network, potentially
resulting in longer lifetimes.
3.3.1 Battery Issues:
The lifetime of a sensor node is determined by the lifetime of the battery used to supply power
to this sensor node. Therefore prolonging the lifetime of the battery prolongs the lifetime of the
sensor node. The operation of the battery depends on different factors. These factors include battery

dimension, type of electrodes, diffusion rate of the active materials in the electrolyte, discharge rate
… etc. some design issues that can be used to prolong the battery lifetime are:
Current Capacity:
The most important factor that greatly effects the lifetime of any battery is the amount of current
drawn from the battery (discharge rate). Every battery has a specified discharging rate set by the
manufacture. Drawing higher currents than this rate decreases the battery lifetime significantly.
Thus, to avoid battery lifetime degradation, the amount of the current drawn should be kept under
the manufacture specifications.
Relaxation Phenomenon:
The battery relaxation periods can be used to mitigate (to a certain extent) the effect of high
discharge rates on the battery lifetime. If the current drawn from a battery is reduced or completely
cut-off, the diffusion and transport of active materials catches up with the depletion caused by the
discharge. This phenomenon is called the relaxation effect, and enables the battery to recover a
portion of its lost capacity
3.3.2 Link cost function:
The link cost function is used by the node to select the next hop during the path discovery
phase. Let Nx be the set of neighbors of node x. Cost function includes an energy factor, available
buffer factor, and interference factor with appropriate weights (α, β, and γ).
3.3.3 Paths Discovery Phase:
The sink node starts the multiple paths discovery phase to create a set of neighbours that
able to forward data towards the sink from the source node. The constructed multipaths are node-
disjoint paths (i.e. have no common nodes except the source and the destination). The path
discovery procedure is executed according to the following phases:
Initialization phase:
Each sensor node broadcast a HELLO message to its neighbours in order to have enough
information about which of its neighbours can provide it with the highest quality data. Each sensor
node maintains and updates its neighbouring table during this phase. Figure 1 illustrates the
structure of hello message. The link quality field is expressed in terms of signal-to-noise ratio
(SNR) for the link between the source node and its neighbour. Hop count gives the distance in hops
for the message from its originator.

Fig3.3: Hello message format

Primary Path discovery phase:

After initialization phase, each sensor node has enough information to compute the cost
function for the links to its neighbours. Then, the sink node locally computes its preferred next hop
node using the link cost function, and sends out a RREQ message to its most preferred next hop
(figure 2 shows the structure of the RREQ message).

Fig3.4: Route request message

Alternative Paths discovery phase:
For the second alternate path, the sink sends alternate path RREQ message to its next most
preferred neighbour. To avoid having paths with shared nodes, we limit each node to accept only
one RREQ message. For those nodes that receive more than one RREQ message, only accept the
first RREQ message and reject the remaining messages. In this example Node 9 computes its next
preferred neighbour finds it Node 7. Node 9 generates RREQ message and forwards to node 7, but
node 7 has been included in the primary path, then node 7 simply responds to node 9 with an
INUSE message indicating that node 7 is already selected in a routing path.

Fig3.5: Alternate path discovery

3.3.4. Route Refreshing

To keep multiple paths alive, the source node periodically floods a KEEPALIVE message
(similar to HELEO message except that the Hop-Count field is replaced by the Next-Hop-ID) over
multiple paths to keep them alive. The frequency of the KEEPALIVE message determines how
quickly the routing protocol recovers from failures on the primary path.
3.3.5. Traffic allocation and Data Transmission:
After multiple paths have been discovered, the source node begins to transmit data messages
to the sink. To deliver data to the sink node, we use a subset of the available paths to transfer the
message in order to distribute the load over the nodes, and to avoid the fast battery drains because

of the extensive use of the same path to carry a long message for long time. We split up the
message into small parts (N equal sized segments), add error correction codes (M XOR-based
correction codes (data redundancy)), and then transmit it across multiple paths simultaneously to
increase resiliency to path failures and ensure that an essential portion of the packet is received at
the destination without incurring excessive delay through data retransmission. At the sink node, the
parts are collected, reassembled, and the original message is recovered.

3.4 Message Segmentation and FEC Codes Generation:

Fig:3.5 Message Segmentation

The data message is split up into k equal sized segments (S0, S1, S2, … Sk-1), and over head
part of M+1 (where M < k) error correction codes (C0 C1, C2, C3, … CM) of same size as the data
segment are added to the original message. The data segments and error correction codes are of the
same size (l bytes) and should be multiple of 8. Correction codes are calculated as a function of the
information bits to provide redundant information. The correction codes are computed as follow:

Message Forwarding and Recovery:

After computing the XOR-based correction codes, the segments of the original message
(S1, S2, S3, … Sk) along with the error correction codes (C0, C1, C2, C3, … CM) are sent out
across the selected multiple paths. If M or less segments are lost out of the N + M total data and
overhead (correction codes), the original N message segments can be recovered using appropriate
linear transformations as XOR operation. The original message could be reconstructed as follow:

The packet segmentation and the fields in each segment. Segment Length (SL) field
indicates the length of each segment. The segments must have a length that is a multiple of 8, to
allow proper offset specification. Identification field (ID) is a unique identifier assigned to each
message being fragmented. The field is used by the sink node to reassemble messages without
accidentally mixing segments from different messages. More Segment (MS), this bit is set to 1 for
all segments except the last one, which has it set to 0. When the segment with a value of zero in the
MS bit is seen, the receiver knows that it has received the last segment of the message. Segment
Offset (off), this field solves the problem of sequencing segments by indicating to the receiver
where in the original message each particular segment should be placed.


I have presented the RELAX protocol, an energy efficient multi-path routing protocol
specifically designed for wireless sensor networks. Multipath routing together with the XOR-based
FEC technique are used to recover from node failures without invoking network-wide flooding for
path discovery. This feature is very important in sensor networks since flooding reduces network
lifetime. RELAX protocol uses the residual energy, node available buffer size, and signal-to-noise
ratio to predict the next hop through the paths construction phase. RELAX splits up the transmitted
message into a number of segments of equal size, add correction codes, and then transmit it over
multiple paths simultaneously to increase the probability that an essential portion of the packet is
received at the destination without incurring excessive delay. RELAX protocol utilizes the
relaxation effect of the battery (which powering the sensor node) to increase the battery lifetime
and hence increasing the overall lifetime of the sensor network.

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