Chapter 2

Wireless Sensor Networks

The Eight Fallacies of Distributed Computing—“Essentially everyone, when they first build a distributed application, makes the following eight assumptions. All prove to be false in the long run and all cause big trouble and painful learning experiences.”

1. The network is reliable

2. Latency is zero

3. Bandwidth is infinite

4. The network is secure

5. Topology doesn’t change

6. There is one administrator

7. Transport cost is zero

8. The network is homogeneous

—Peter Deutsch

A sensor is a device that responds to a physical stimulus (heat, light, sound, pressure, etc.) and produces a corresponding measurable electrical signal. Sensor systems have been used in military, industrial, and medical applications for many years. In military applications, sensor systems are employed for tasks such as ocean surveillance and in air-to-air defense which detect, track and identify the targets and events. These defense systems use sensors such as radar, passive electronic support measures (ESMs), infrared identification-friend foe (IFF) sensors, and electrooptic image sensors. In nonmilitary areas sensor systems are widely used in applications such as robotics, automated control of industrial manufacturing systems, smart buildings, traffic control and management, monitoring organs of the human body, and surveillance of natural disasters.

More recent advances in micromechatronics systems and microfabrication technology have led to the availability of low-cost, ...

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