self configuration in sensor networks


Overview - Description




Sensor networks can be composed up to thousands of nodes, densely deployed, and organized towards the same objective: to retrieve information from the environment and to transmit the result of the sensing operation to a remote destination station.

The random deployment of the sensor nodes prevent any preconfiguration of the network and the dynamic topology of sensor networks requires the development of self-configurable mechanisms which could guarantee the transmission of the information even in presence of disruptive factors which could affect the normal behavior of the network (node failure, node mobility, ).

Self-configuration in sensor networks can take several aspects:

  • Node organization
    • Deployment
    • Data gathering protocols
    • Routing protocols
  • Node participation
  • Node localization
  • Network recovery

This project aims at defining precisely the different aspects of self-organization and then to try to propose new protocols to solve the identified problems.




Due to the potentiality of applications, sensor networks became the centre of extensive research the last two years. Environment monitoring, target tracking, home automation applications are some examples of utilization of sensor networks. The possibilities of deployment of sensor networks in heterogeneous environments and the diversity of application requirements necessitate to provide sensor nodes with self-configurable capabilities. The ideal case would be to define mechanisms which could suit any situation, any application without the need of any human intervention in the process of configuration or reconfiguration. The only task of the user should be to deploy the sensor nodes. The way packets are forwarded through the network should be transparent to the user. Node failure or node mobility should not have any impact on the performance of the network and should not affect the accuracy of the information received.

Even if some similarities can defined between ad hoc networks and sensor networks, the expectations of sensor networks in terms of reliability, lifetime and energy constraints differ significantly from those of ad hoc networks. The adaptation of routing and MAC protocols previously developed for ad hoc networks does not fulfill the specific requirements of sensor networks. In this project, we intend to develop self-configuration mechanisms adapted to sensor networks. By exploring the different aspects of self-configuration in sensor networks, we expect to outline problems not already addressed in the literature and investigate some possible solutions.

Self-configuration in sensor networks can take several aspects:

Node organization

  • Deployment: besides random deployment, we will explore the different ways to modify the topology of the network in order to optimize the coverage of the network and the data transmission in terms of energy consumption.

  • Data gathering: we develop new protocols to handle the dynamic nature of sensor networks with a special focus on applications with mobile sources.

  • Routing protocols: we will explore the possibilities to improve the transmission of data to the destination station in order to enhance the performance of the network in terms of energy consumption.

Node participation

We will explore the different ways to optimize the roles of the sensor nodes in the network in order to maximize the overall lifetime of the network.

Node localization

We will explore the possibilities to determine the localization of sensor nodes without the use (or with minimal use) of GPS beacon nodes.

Network recovery

Self-reconfiguration or Self-healing is a concept difficult to separate from sensor networks. The high level of node failures makes mandatory the implementation of recovery process to deal with the problem of link failure which could prevent the normal transmission of the data to the destination station and have dramatic impact for the user.