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Energy-aware sensor nodes are usually tightly energy-constrained, execute energy-efficient algorithms, have the ability to interrogate and control the devices used for storing and consuming energy, and often feature one or more sources of energy harvesting. Due to the cost, time and expertise required to deploy a wireless sensor network (WSN), simulation is currently the most widely adopted evaluation method. Network simulation is well established for mobile ad hoc networks, using simulators such as the popular ns2. However, the differing characteristics and performance criteria of WSNs introduce additional simulation requirements, and this has resulted in a number of simulators and simulator extensions developed specifically for this purpose. This paper investigates the suitability of a number of state-of-the-art simulators for evaluating energy-aware WSNs, and subsequently proposes a novel structure for simulating energy-aware WSNs. The proposed structure provides diverse, flexible and extensible hardware and environment models, and integrates a structured architecture for embedded software to enhance the design of energy-aware sensor nodes. To illustrate an implementation of the structure, details of - and observations obtained using - an in-house simulator (WSNsim) are presented.
Date of Conference: 22-26 June 2009