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In this study, the authors present an energy-efficient data compression protocol for data collection in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). WSNs are essentially constrained by motes' limited battery power and networks bandwidth. The authors focus on data compression algorithms and protocol development to effectively support data compression for data gathering in WSNs. Their design of compressed data-stream protocol (CDP) is generic in the sense that other lossless or lossy compression algorithms can be easily 'plugged' into the proposed protocol system without any changes to the rest of the CDP. This design intends to support various different WSN applications where users may prefer more specific compression algorithms, tailored to the sensing data characteristics in question, to their general algorithm. CDP is not only able to significantly reduce energy consumptions of data gathering in multi-hop WSNs, but also able to reduce sensor network traffic and thus avoid congestion accordingly. The proposed CDP is implemented on the tinyOS platform using the nesC programming language. To evaluate their work, the authors conduct simulations via TOSSIM and PowerTOSSIM-z with real-world sensor data. The results demonstrate the significance of CDP.