Wireless Sensor Network Vs Ad Hoc Networking

In recent article I written about wireless sensor network. Here I written about the relation between Wireless Sensor Network and Ad Hoc Networking.

Wireless sensor network applications require wireless ad hoc networking techniques. Although many protocols and algorithms have been proposed for traditional wireless ad hoc networks, they are not well suited for the unique features and application requirements of wireless sensor networks. The differences between wireless sensor networks and traditional wireless ad hoc networks are listed here:

The number of sensor nodes in a wireless sensor network can be several orders of magnitude higher than the nodes in a wireless ad hoc network. In a wireless sensor network, sensor nodes are densely deployed. Sensor nodes are prone to failure.

The topology of a wireless sensor network changes very frequently. Sensor nodes mainly use broadcast communication paradigms whereas most traditional ad hoc networks are based on point-to-point communications.

Sensor nodes are limited in power, computational capabilities, and memory. Sensor nodes may not have global identifi cation because of the large amount of overhead and large number of sensors. Another factor that distinguishes wireless sensor networks from traditional mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) is that the end goal is the detection/estimation of some event(s) of interest, and not just communication. To improve detection performance, it is often quite useful to fuse data from multiple sensors . Data fusion requires the transmission of data and control messages. This need may impose constraints on network architecture.

The large number of sensing nodes may congest the network with information. To solve this problem, some sensors, such as cluster heads, can aggregate the data, perform some computation (e.g., average, summation, highest value, etc.), and then broadcast the summarized new information.

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