1Fluid Models and Energy Issues

Wireless sensor networks consist of hundreds to thousands of sensor nodes with limited computational and energy resources. Sensors are densely deployed over an area of interest, where they gather and disseminate local data using multi-hop communications, i.e. using other nodes as relays. A typical network configuration includes a large collection of stationary sensors operating in an unattended mode, which need to send their data to a node which collects the networks’ information, the so-called sink node.

Traditionally, network designers have used either computer simulations or analytical frameworks to predict and analyze a system’s behavior. Modeling large sensor networks, however, raises several challenges due to scalability problems and high computational costs. With regard to simulations, several software tools have been extended and developed to deal with large wireless networks, see [ZEN 98, SIM 03, LEV 03] just to name a few. As for analytical modeling, to the best of our knowledge, the only work dealing with large sensor networks is presented in [DOU 04], which employs percolation techniques.

This chapter presents spatial fluid-based models for the analysis of large-scale wireless networks. The technique is said to be fluid-based because it represents the sensor nodes as a fluid entity. Sensor location is smoothed out in continuous space by introducing the concept of local sensor density, i.e. the number of sensors per area unit at a given ...

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