• Open Access

A pragmatic approach to area coverage in hybrid wireless sensor networks


  • The results in this paper have been presented in part at the Workshop on Wireless Local Networks (WLN, 2005), Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Systems (MASS, 2006), and Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks (MSN, 2007).


Success of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) largely depends on whether the deployed network can provide desired area coverage with acceptable network lifetime. This paper seeks to address the problem of determining the current coverage achieved by the non-deterministic deployment of static sensor nodes and subsequently enhancing the coverage using mobile sensors. We identify three key elements that are critical for ensuring effective area coverage in Hybrid WSN: (i) determining the boundary of the target region and evaluating the area coverage (ii) locating coverage holes and maneuvering mobile nodes to fill these voids, and (iii) maintaining the desired coverage over the entire operational lifetime of the network. We propose a comprehensive solution that addresses all of the aforementioned aspects of the area coverage, called MAPC (mobility assisted probabilistic coverage). MAPC is a distributed protocol that operates in three distinct phases. The first phase identifies the boundary nodes using the geometric right-hand rule. Next, the static nodes calculate the area coverage and identify coverage holes using a novel probabilistic coverage algorithm (PCA). PCA incorporates realistic sensing coverage model for range-based sensors. The second phase of MAPC is responsible for navigating the mobile nodes to plug the coverage holes. We propose a set of coverage and energy-aware variants of the basic virtual force algorithm (VFA). Finally, the third phase addresses the problem of coverage loss due to faulty and energy depleted nodes. We formulate this problem as an Integer Linear Program (ILP) and propose practical heuristic solutions that achieve similar performance as that of the optimal ILP solution. A guiding principle in our design process has been to ensure that the MAPC can be readily implemented in real-world applications. We implemented the boundary detection and PCA algorithm (i.e., Phase I) of the MAPC protocol on off-the-shelf sensor nodes and results show that the MAPC can successfully identify boundary nodes and accurately determine the area coverage in the presence of real radio irregularities observed during the experiments. Extensive simulations were carried out to evaluate the complete MAPC protocol and the results demonstrate that MAPC can enhance and maintain the area coverage, while reducing the total energy consumption by up to 70% as compared with the basic VFA. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.