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Development of efficient transmission power control algorithms providing both high energy efficiency and good link quality is the current major focus in wireless sensor networks research. In the paper, we propose an efficient transmission power control algorithm for wireless sensor networks, namely, the on-demand transmission power control (ODTPC) algorithm. This new algorithm attempts to reduce the initialization overhead in determining the optimal transmission power level while providing good link qualities. Our testbed experiment results show that ODTPC consumes much less energy than previous transmission power control algorithms (PCBL ( D. Son,et al.) and ATPC (S. Lin, et al.)) and is easily implemented with routing protocols like AODV (C. Perkin, and E. Royer) and Directed Diffusion (C. Intanagonwiwat, et al.).