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Current Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) consist of low powered energy efficient nodes with short range radios and limited computation capabilities. Sensing applications with multiple sensors, high sample rates, and large spatial coverage are not realizable with conventional WSNs. We propose High Performance WSNs (HP-WSN) with an 802.11n based physical layer and opportunistic routing to overcome the limitations of existing WSNs. We present a research test-bed for such HP-WSNs. As an intermediate step towards actual HP-WSNs, our test-bed (HWL) collects raw data into a centralized data store to provide an experiment friendly environment. The collected raw data includes sensor data (to develop new sensing applications) and data about network and system operation (to develop the sensor network). We provide an example HP-WSN application, derive research objectives for the development of HP-WSNs, provide a test-bed architecture and present evaluation results on network and data storage performance to show the principle feasibility of HP-WSNs.