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This paper presents Glossy, a novel flooding architecture for wireless sensor networks. Glossy exploits constructive interference of IEEE 802.15.4 symbols for fast network flooding and implicit time synchronization. We derive a timing requirement to make concurrent transmissions of the same packet interfere constructively, allowing a receiver to decode the packet even in the absence of capture effects. To satisfy this requirement, our design temporally decouples flooding from other network activities. We analyze Glossy using a mixture of statistical and worst-case models, and evaluate it through experiments under controlled settings and on three wireless sensor testbeds. Our results show that Glossy floods packets within a few milliseconds and achieves an average time synchronization error below one microsecond. In most cases, a node receives the flooding packet with a probability higher than 99.99%, while having its radio turned on for only a few milliseconds during a flood. Moreover, unlike existing flooding schemes, Glossy's performance exhibits no noticeable dependency on node density, which facilitates its application in diverse real-world settings.
Date of Conference: 12-14 April 2011