Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 12-30-2012


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Hamid Sharif. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Tao Ma


To prevent and control the outbreak of contagious animal disease, many countries have developed animal identification and tracking systems. However, the current animal identification and tracking system, which is based on passive RFID technology, has many limitations such as the short communication range and incapability of automatically monitoring the animal. To overcome these limitations, our Advanced Telecommunications Engineering Laboratory (TEL) in Department of Computer and Electronics Engineering (CEEN), University of Nebraska-Lincoln took the mission of developing a more advanced monitoring system for animal identification and tracking. This dissertation work as a part of this mission was focusing on developing an ultra-low power communication protocol for our animal monitoring system. Our animal monitoring system utilizes the energy harvesting wireless sensor technology, aiming to offer a solar energy powered ad hoc network where all tags are actively collecting all the concerning information of livestock, and automatically passing the information through multi-hop to the hub. To meet the requirements of such an animal monitoring system, this dissertation had carefully designed and thoroughly implemented an ultra-low power communication protocol, which is able to provide multi-hop routing capability with an overall duty cycle level as low as 0.1%. Both lab tests and field tests were also conducted to verify the developed communication protocol. Furthermore, the two essential elements of this communication protocol: the synchronization error and the throughput, were analytically formulated and analyzed. The validity of these formulations was verified by the lab tests. Currently, the developed ultra-low power communication protocol has been successfully used in our energy harvesting wireless sensor based animal monitoring system.

Adviser: Hamid Sharif