Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in 40th Annual Conference on Information Sciences and Systems, 2006, pp. 1102-1107 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/CISS.2006.286630. 1-4244-0350-2/06 ©2006 IEEE


Severe energy constraints of battery-powered sensor nodes necessitate energy-efficient communication protocols in order to fulfill application objectives of wireless sensor networks (WSN). However, the vast majority of the existing solutions are based on classical layered protocols approach. It is much more resource-efficient to have a unified scheme which melts common protocol layer functionalities into a cross-layer module for resource-constrained sensor nodes. To the best of our knowledge, to date, there is no unified cross-layer communication protocol for efficient and reliable event communication which considers transport, routing, medium access functionalities with physical layer (wireless channel) effects for WSNs.
In this paper, a unified cross-layer protocol is developed, which replaces the entire traditional layered protocol architecture that has been used so far in WSNs. Our design principle is complete unified cross-layering such that both the information and the functionalities of traditional communication layers are melted in a single protocol. The objective of the proposed crosslayer protocol is highly reliable communication with minimal energy consumption, adaptive communication decisions and local congestion avoidance. To this end, the protocol operation is governed by the new concept of initiative determination. Based on this concept, the cross-layer protocol performs received based contention, local congestion control, and distributed duty cycle operation in order to realize efficient and reliable communication in WSN. Performance evaluation results show that the proposed cross-layer protocol significantly improves the communication efficiency and outperforms the traditional layered protocol architectures.