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In this paper, the cluster-based network architecture combined with multi-hop transformation is studied and a hop-number-constrained multi-hop routing algorithm (HMR) is proposed. This new scheme is designed to prolong the network lifetime. In order to make sure that the communication period from sensor nodes to base station is stable, in this new scheme, the maximum hop-number is considered. Meanwhile, nodes with higher residual energy undertake more tasks of relaying information so as to balance the energy consumption in the network. Simulation results show that this new scheme provides longer lifetime than the classical clustering algorithms, and HMR also reaches larger amount of effective messages.