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Exploiting mobile elements to conduct data collection in wireless sensor networks offers a new approach to reducing and balancing the energy consumption of sensor nodes; however, the resultant data collection latency may be large due to the limited travel speed. Many research efforts have been made on reducing the data collection latency with the scenario where a single mobile element is available. A potential problem with this scenario is the scalability, and a straightforward solution is to employ multiple mobile elements to collect data collaboratively. In this paper, the network where multiple homogeneous mobile elements are available is modeled as an M/G/c queuing system, and insights on the data collection performance are obtained through theoretically analyzing the measures of the queue. In addition, a heuristic formula to determine the optimal number of mobile elements is proposed based on this model. The accuracy of our modeling and analysis, along with the performance evaluation of the proposed heuristic formula, is verified through extensive simulation.
Date of Conference: 5-9 Dec. 2011