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We propose “mode switch”, an adaptive load-sensitive solution that supports both an energy-efficient operation mode for transmitting normal sensor data and an QoS-aware low-latency mode for high priority emergency messages. Typically, sensor networks are considered to operate efficiently w.r.t. energy consumption. A good example is the IEEE 802.15.4 protocol, which has mainly been designed for this purpose. The standard IEEE 802.15.4 beacon-enabled cluster-tree topology supports energy-efficient operation for low-rate data transmissions. However, in the case of detected alarms, high-priority emergency messages need to be transmitted with low-latency and guaranteed delivery. In this case, the cluster-tree topology appears to be inefficient and cannot provide the needed support. In this paper, we show how energy-efficiency and delay-sensitivity can be combined by developing an adaptive solution that completely switches between the fundamentally different operation modes beacon-enabled cluster-tree mode and non-beacon-enabled mesh mode. The key challenge is to provide a fast mode switch that also keeps track of necessary topology information. We present a protocol for this mode switch and demonstrate, based on extensive simulations, that the performance demands can be fulfilled with only reasonable overhead even for mid-size networks. Our simulation results clearly indicate that the system achieves the objected QoS and energy-efficiency with “mode switch” in real-time.
Date of Conference: 8-12 Nov. 2010