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A recursive multihop area hierarchy has a number of applications in wireless sensor networks, the most common being scalable point-to-point routing, so-called hierarchical routing. In this paper, we consider the problem of maintaining a recursive multihop area hierarchy in large sensor networks. We present a gossip-based protocol, dubbed PL-Gossip, in which nodes, by using local-only operations and by periodically gossiping with their neighbors, collaboratively maintain such a hierarchy. Since the hierarchy is a complex distributed structure, PL-Gossip introduces special mechanisms for internode coordination and consistency enforcement. Yet, these mechanisms are seamlessly integrated within the basic gossiping framework. Through simulations and experiments with an actual embedded protocol implementation, we demonstrate that PL-Gossip maintains the hierarchy in a manner that addresses all the peculiarities of sensor networks. More specifically, it offers excellent opportunities for aggressive energy saving and facilitates provisioning energy harvesting infrastructure. In addition, it bootstraps and recovers the hierarchy after failures relatively fast while also being robust to message loss. Finally, it can seamlessly operate on real sensor node hardware in realistic deployment scenarios and can outperform existing state-of-the-art hierarchy maintenance protocols.
Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:21 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: April 2010