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High capacity real-time data communications in sensor networks usually require multihop routing and ad hoc routing protocols. Unfortunately, ad hoc routing protocols usually do not scale well and cannot handle dense situations efficiently. These two issues-scalability and density-are the major limitations when we apply ad hoc routing schemes to sensor networks. Passive clustering (PC) classifies ad hoc/sensor nodes into critical and noncritical nodes without any extra transmission. By 2-b piggybacking and monitoring user traffic (e.g., data polling requests from a sink), PC deploys the clustering structure "for free". Moreover, PC makes even the first flooding as efficient as all subsequent floodings (i.e., no initialization overhead). PC introduces many benefits, including efficient flooding and density adaptation. As a result, PC reduces control overhead of ad hoc routing protocols significantly and, as a consequence, enables ad hoc routing in large, dense sensor networks. The resulting structure can be utilized in cluster-based ad hoc network/sensor networking as well as for active node selection.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2003