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Reducing the number of transmitted bytes in a wireless sensor network reduces the time the radio is on, resulting in a significant increase in battery lifetime. Toward this end we have developed a compression technique that is independent of the protocols used in the network, acts as a transparent layer, and consumes minimal computing resources. Patterns in recent packets are identified and replaced in the transmitted packet by bit flags. This algorithm was tested on packet traces collected from commercial wireless sensor networks for 40-80% compression, yielding comparable energy savings in a time-synchronized network.