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With the development of CMOS and MEMS technologies, the implementation of a large number of wireless distributed micro-sensors that can be easily and rapidly deployed to form highly redundant, self-configuring, and ad hoc sensor networks. To facilitate ease of deployment, these sensors operate on battery for extended periods of time. A particular challenge in maintaining extended battery lifetime lies in achieving communications with low power. For better understanding of the design tradeoffs of wireless sensor network (WSN), a more accurate energy model for wireless sensor node is proposed, and an optimal design method of energy efficient wireless sensor node is described as well. Different from power models ever shown which assume the power cost of each component in WSN node is constant, the new one takes into account the energy dissipation of circuits in practical physical layer. It shows that there are some parameters, such as data rate, carrier frequency, bandwidth, Tsw, etc, which have a significant effect on the WSN node energy consumption per useful bit (EPUB). For a given quality specification, how energy consumption can be reduced by adjusting one or more of these parameters is shown.