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Low Energy Online Self-Test of Embedded Processors in Dependable WSN Nodes

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4 Author(s)
Merentitis, A. ; Dept. of Inf. & Telecommun., Nat. & Kapodistrian Univ. of Athens, Athens, Greece ; Kranitis, N. ; Paschalis, A. ; Gizopoulos, D.

Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) nodes are often deployed in harsh environments where the possibility of permanent and especially intermittent faults due to environmental hazards is significantly increased, while silicon aging effects are also exacerbated. Thus, online and in-field testing is necessary to guarantee correctness of operation. At the same time, online testing of processors integrated in WSN nodes has the requirement of minimum energy consumption, because these devices operate on battery, cannot be connected to any external power supply, and the battery duration determines the lifetime of the system. Software-Based Self-Test (SBST) has emerged as an effective strategy for online testing of processors integrated in nonsafety critical applications. However, the notion of dependability includes not only reliability but also availability. Thus, in order to encase both aspects we present a methodology for the optimization of SBST routines from the energy perspective. The refined methodology presented in this paper is able to be effectively applied in the case that the SBST routines are not initially available and need to be downloaded to the WSN nodes, as well as the case that the SBST routines are available in a flash memory. The methodology is extended to maximize the energy gains for WSN architectures offering clock gating or Dynamic Frequency Scaling features. Simulation results show that energy savings at processor level are up to 36.5 percent, which depending on the characteristics of the WSN system, can translate in several weeks of increased lifetime, especially if the routines need to be downloaded to the WSN node.

Published in:

Dependable and Secure Computing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 1 )