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One of the challenging aspects for wireless sensor network (WSN) clustering is to estimate the optimal cluster number. Most WSN clustering techniques have used an a priori value to determine the cluster number. A few techniques, available at the literature, attempted to find the optimal cluster number by energy minimization. However, due to the assumption of lossless communication, these initiatives do not always converge to the minimum energy as wireless channels are error-prone. As wireless communication is always vulnerable to the signal interference, environmental noise, and so on, it suffers from data loss. To capture the characteristics of the communication phenomenon in a real context and have better reliability, we need to embed the link quality into the cluster number determination process. To address this issue, in this paper together with the energy, we incorporate link quality metric into the theoretical underpinning to achieve an optimal cluster number analytically and finally justified the result by simulation.