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Research shows that significant energy saving can be achieved in wireless sensor networks by using mobile elements (MEs) capable of carrying data mechanically. However, the low movement speed of MEs hinders their use in data-intensive sensing applications with temporal constraints. To address this issue, we propose a rendezvous-based approach in which a subset of nodes serve as the rendezvous points (RPs) that buffer data originated from sources and transfer to MEs when they arrive. RPs enable MEs to collect a large volume of data at a time without traveling long distances, which can achieve a desirable balance between network energy saving and data collection delay. We develop two rendezvous planning algorithms, RP-CP and RP-UG. RP-CP finds the optimal RPs when MEs move along the data routing tree while RP-UG greedily chooses the RPs with maximum energy saving to travel distance ratios. We design the rendezvous-based data collection protocol that facilitates reliable data transfers from RPs to MEs in presence of significant unexpected delays in ME movement and network communication. Our approach is validated through extensive simulations.
Date of Conference: 3-6 Dec. 2007