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A wireless sensor network (WSN) has features that fit into several classes of wireless networks (e.g., mesh, ad hoc, and mobile ad hoc networks) and, at the same time, features that are unique to it. These exceptional characteristics place many demands on the WSN routing protocol. For instance, the routing protocol must assure uniform dissipation of energy across the network, quickly converge irrespective of the network node density, and be flexible in terms of the routing framework and the route computation metric. All of the aforementioned conditions must be accomplished in an energy-efficient manner. Although several routing protocols have been proposed for WSNs, most approaches are usually focused on energy-efficient operations. The validity of this case is undeniable; however, one crucial element is generally assumed or ignored i.e., how one can prevent routing loops in the network. In addition to achieving the aforementioned routing objectives, in this paper, we go one step further by expressly defining and thoroughly evaluating mechanisms for loop prevention and minimization. Our proposed routing scheme leverages the services that were offered by the IEEE 802.15.4 specification to satisfy the requirements of a WSN routing protocol.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2009