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We investigate the following fundamental question-how fast can information be collected from a wireless sensor network organized as tree? To address this, we explore and evaluate a number of different techniques using realistic simulation models under the many-to-one communication paradigm known as convergecast. We first consider time scheduling on a single frequency channel with the aim of minimizing the number of time slots required (schedule length) to complete a convergecast. Next, we combine scheduling with transmission power control to mitigate the effects of interference, and show that while power control helps in reducing the schedule length under a single frequency, scheduling transmissions using multiple frequencies is more efficient. We give lower bounds on the schedule length when interference is completely eliminated, and propose algorithms that achieve these bounds. We also evaluate the performance of various channel assignment methods and find empirically that for moderate size networks of about 100 nodes, the use of multifrequency scheduling can suffice to eliminate most of the interference. Then, the data collection rate no longer remains limited by interference but by the topology of the routing tree. To this end, we construct degree-constrained spanning trees and capacitated minimal spanning trees, and show significant improvement in scheduling performance over different deployment densities. Lastly, we evaluate the impact of different interference and channel models on the schedule length.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2012