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Topology control in a sensor network balances load on sensor nodes and increases network scalability and lifetime. Clustering sensor nodes is an effective topology control approach. We propose a novel distributed clustering approach for long-lived ad hoc sensor networks. Our proposed approach does not make any assumptions about the presence of infrastructure or about node capabilities, other than the availability of multiple power levels in sensor nodes. We present a protocol, HEED (Hybrid Energy-Efficient Distributed clustering), that periodically selects cluster heads according to a hybrid of the node residual energy and a secondary parameter, such as node proximity to its neighbors or node degree. HEED terminates in O(1) iterations, incurs low message overhead, and achieves fairly uniform cluster head distribution across the network. We prove that, with appropriate bounds on node density and intracluster and intercluster transmission ranges, HEED can asymptotically almost surely guarantee connectivity of clustered networks. Simulation results demonstrate that our proposed approach is effective in prolonging the network lifetime and supporting scalable data aggregation.
Date of Publication: Oct.-Dec. 2004