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A wireless sensor network is a multihop wireless network consisting of spatially distributed autonomous sensors with sensing, computation, and wireless communication capabilities. Generally, each sensor has the task to monitor and measure ambient conditions and disseminate the collected data toward a base station, or sink, for data post-analysis and processing. Many data dissemination protocols have been proposed to allow the dissemination of the collected data toward a static sink. Recently, mobile sinks were shown to be more energy-effective than static ones. In this article, existing data dissemination protocols supporting mobile sinks are summarized. In addition, sink mobility is analyzed, as well as its impact on energy consumption and the network lifetime.
Date of Publication: December 2008