Mobile Data Collectors in Wireless Sensor Networks
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Recent advances in wireless and sensing technologies have enabled the deployment of large scale Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) which have a wide range of scientific and commercial applications. However, due to the limited energy supply of sensor nodes, extending the network lifetime has become crucial for WSNs to deliver their promised benefits. Several proposals have aimed at this objective by designing energy efficient protocols at the physical, medium access, and network layers. While the proposed protocols achieve significant energy savings for individual sensor nodes, they fail to solve topology-related problems. An example of such problems is the bottlenecks around the sink, which is a direct result of multi-hop relaying: sensor nodes around the sink relay data generated all over the network which makes them deplete their energy much faster than other nodes. A natural solution to this problem is to have multiple mobile data collectors so that the load is distributed evenly among all nodes. We investigate this promising direction for balancing the load and, hence, prolonging the lifetime of the network. We design optimization schemes for routing and placement of mobile data collectors in WSNs. We show, by theoretical analysis and simulations, that our approach has the potential to prolong the lifetime of the network significantly.