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The authors propose a new geographic hole-bypassing forwarding (HBF) protocol to address the hole diffusion problem in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). To support efficient hole-bypassing, the HBF protocol models a hole using a virtual circle whose radius is adjustable within a certain range and is calculated on a per-packet basis. The information associated with the virtual circle will be used, if needed, for selecting an anchor point to bypass the hole in order for a packet to reach a particular sink node. The design objective of the HBF protocol is to balance the traffic load among the nodes near an actual hole boundary. Using the HBF protocol, a packet is always sent to the closest sink and the extra distance for hole-bypassing is considered in the delivery of data packets to reach the sinks (or some of them) in the network. The simulation results show that HBF outperforms existing hole-bypassing protocols in terms of packet delivery ratio and network lifetime.