Media access in Sensor Networks.
Wireless sensor networks consist of a large number of small computers, sensor nodes, as if the one below that can sense its environment, compute, store information and use wireless communications. In general, it is unknown beforehand where a node is going to end up so the nodes set up an ad hoc network among themselves when they are deployed.
There are many different types of sensor nodes ranging from the tiny ones with very limited hardware and battery power to powerful ones (e.g., nodes in running cars) with expensive hardware like GPS and virtually unlimited battery power. In general, though the sensor nodes have limited computing power, storage capacity, memory capacity and battery capacity. This demands special algorithms to get the most out of the nodes and at the same time do not drain batteries too fast. The strengths of the sensor networks are in the nodes' small size, very large network scale, and the broadcast medium of wireless communication.
The project participants are required to have some programming skills (in particular C), and background in computer networks (e.g., EDA342). In this project, the participants would focus on a fundamental communication issue: designing a shared media access primitive, which allows neighboring sensor nodes to broadcasts in a communication media in which message collision might occur. We start by considering an elegant time division protocol that is based on an optimistic assumption that detection of message collision is possible. The project participants would investigate several redundancy techniques for implementing eventually accurate and complete collision detectors using imperfect collision detectors of existing technology. Moreover, the different project teams would evaluate and compare the media access primitive's performances for the different collision detector mechanisms using a simulator (and possibly some experiments in real sensor networks). The expected educational benefit would be a practical insight and hands-on experience on sensor nodes interface, wireless broadcast communication, and novel medium access control techniques.
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