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In wireless sensor networks, measurements from neighboring sensor nodes are typically cross-correlated and can be aggregated and compressed locally. This process, referred to as in-network data aggregation, saves a lot of energy by reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the data sink. We consider the problem of using a TDMA schedule in order to perform data aggregation in a network in which the wireless links are unreliable and heterogeneous. In order to balance the energy consumption of different sensor nodes, the nodes with the weakest links should discard more packets than nodes with the strongest links. The existing packet discarding policies are unsuitable for data aggregation because they fail to consider the dependencies between different packets. We propose three packet discarding policies and show that they are appropriate for different kinds of networks. For large networks, among the policies that we propose, the best policy is discard the oldest packet, and to transmit the oldest packet that has not been discarded.
Date of Conference: 4-8 July 2011