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Energy efficiency is a central challenge in battery- operated sensor networks. Current energy-efficient mechanisms employ either duty cycling, which reduces idle listening but does not eliminate it, or low power wake-up radio, which adds complexity and cost to the sensor platform. In this paper, we propose a novel mechanism called RFIDImpulse that uses RFID technology as an out-of-band wake-up channel for sensor networks. RFIDImpulse is an on-demand mechanism that enables nodes to sleep until they have to send or receive packets. It relies on IEEE 802.15.4 radio to emulate an RFID reader at a sender node, and on an off-the-shelf RFID tag attached to the external interrupt pin of each sensor node. The sender can simply activate the receiver's tag before sending it data packets. This setup enables both radio and microcontroller to go into deep sleep mode until they need to be active. We develop an analytical model to evaluate the energy tradeoffs of RFIDImpulse, and then evaluate the mechanism against BMAC and IEEE 802.15.4 in high and low traffic scenarios. The results confirm that RFIDImpulse reduces the energy consumption relative to both protocols for low and medium traffic scenarios, and they reveal the thresholds for adaptive activation of RFIDImpulse based on traffic load.
Date of Conference: 3-7 Aug. 2008