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We study the energy consumption of individual links in wireless sensor networks (WSN). Three widely used digital modulation schemes, i.e. MQAM, MPSK, and MFSK, are analyzed and compared. Both transmitted signal power and circuit power consumptions are considered. For modeling the signal power, we use the relation between channel capacity or cutoff rate and signal to noise ratio (SNR). By numerical calculation, we find the optimized parameters for minimizing the energy consumption per information bit in a point-to-point wireless link.