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Energy Efficient Routing in Ad-Hoc Wireless Networks

(Research Proposal)
Aadil Zia Khan
Department of Computer Science
Lahore University of Management Sciences

Introduction to Wireless Ad-Hoc Networks

A wireless ad-hoc network is a wireless computer network where there is no fixed
infrastructure. All wireless enabled devices within the range of each other can discover
and communicate with each other in a peer-to-peer fashion without involving central
access points. [1]

In the last few years wireless ad-hoc networks are rapidly gaining importance. The ad-
hoc property makes them quite useful in situations where setting up of an infrastructure
based network could be difficult, or even impossible. Because of this reason, wireless ad-
hoc networks are being studied especially for their applications in disaster management,
military, supply chain management, environment studies, conferences and classrooms

Energy Constraints in Ad-Hoc Wireless Networks

An important constraint, to be taken into consideration, in wireless ad-hoc networks is
that the nodes usually run on batteries. This means that energy expenditure must be
carefully controlled or else the node life and consequently network life would be quite
short. Most of the energy expenditure comes from the transmission and receiving of data
packets. As discussed in [2], average consumption is 1 mJ for transmitting and 0.5 mJ for
receiving a single bit. Now comparing this to only 0.8 mJ for 208 CPU cycles
(approximately 100 instructions) we realize that much energy can be conserved if we can
make data transmission and receiving more efficient, or reduce total data transfer.

Current Handling of the Problem

Apart from energy efficient application layer design, the energy conservation issue is
currently handled at the MAC layer and also the network layer. Following are just a few
examples of how this problem can be tackled at these two layers.

As discussed in [3], one way of addressing this problem at the MAC layer, is by reducing
the transmission range (i.e. sending a weaker signal) and delivering a packet in a multi-
hop fashion. As the power consumed by the network interface card (NIC) is directly
proportionally to the strength of the transmitted signal a weaker signal means more node
life. This may be especially advantageous in areas of high node density. [4]

At the network layer, this problem is handled by energy aware and efficient routing
protocols. One way to achieve this is by finding multiple paths between source and
destinations, and assigning each path a probability of being chosen, depending on the
energy metric. To send a packet, one of the paths is randomly chosen depending on the
probabilities. Hence none of the paths is used all the time, preventing energy depletion.
[5] According to [6], the route cost can be based on energy consumption along that path or
it can be a rapidly increasing function of decreasing remaining energy at a node. On the
other hand, removing redundancy is also another focus so that energy is not wasted in
unnecessary data forwarding. [7]

Another tradeoff to consider for energy efficiency is whether the routing policy would be
proactive (table driven) or reactive (on demand). As evident, a proactive routing policy
would consume much more energy because of frequent updates as compared to a reactive
one. [8]

My Area of Focus
For this project my I will be focusing on the network layer only. This means that I would
be focusing on energy efficient routing. I intend to give a broad picture of routing in
wireless ad-hoc networks and then do a focused survey of all the current energy efficient
routing techniques and approaches for both unicast and multicast traffic. I would discuss
the pros and cons of these routing techniques and different conditions in which some may
perform better than the other ones. In the process, I also hope to find any open issues and
challenges on which further research could be pursued.

[2] Sagnik Bhattacharya, Hyung Kim, Shashi Prabh, Tarek F. Abdelzaher: Energy-
Conserving Data Placement and Asynchronous Multicast in Wireless Sensor Networks.
MobiSys 2003
[3] Marwan Krunz, Alaa Muqattash, Sung-Ju Lee: “Transmission power control in
wireless ad hoc networks: challenges, solutions and open issues.” IEEE Network 18(5):
8-14 (2004)
[4] J. Gao, L. J. Guibas, J. Hershberger, L. Zhang and A. Zhu. “Geometric spanners for
routing in mobile networks.” Proc. 2nd ACM Symp. on Ad-Hoc Networking and
Computing (MobiHoc), October 2001, pages 45-55.
[5] Rahul C. Shah and Jan M. Rabaey. “Energy aware routing for low energy ad hoc
sensor networks.” In Proc. IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference
(WCNC), Orlando, FL, March 2002.
[6] Ivan Stojmenovic, "Position-based routing in ad hoc networks," IEEE
Communications Magazine, vol. 40, pp. 128--134, July 2002.
[7] Jamal N. Al-Karaki, Ahmed E. Kamal, " Routing Techniques in Wireless Sensor
Networks: A Survey", IEEE Wireless Communications, December 2004
[8] Xiaoyan Hong, Kaixin Xu, and Mario Gerla, "Scalable Routing Protocols for Mobile
Ad Hoc Networks, " IEEE Network, special issue on Scalability in Communication
Networks, July-Aug, 2002, pp. 11-21.