An Unequal Cluster-Based Routing Protocol in Wireless Sensor Networks

An unequal cluster-based routing protocol in wireless sensor networks Guihai Chen ? E Chengfa Li ? E Mao Ye ? E JieWu C Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007 Abstract Clustering provides an effective method for prolonging the lifetime of a wireless sensor network. Current clustering algorithms usually utilize two techniques; selecting cluster heads with more residual energy, and rotating cluster heads periodically to distribute the energy consumption among nodes in each cluster and extend the network lifetime. However, they rarely consider the hot spot problem in multihop sensor networks.

When cluster heads cooperate with each other to forward their data to the base station, the cluster heads closer to the base station are burdened with heavier relay traffic and tend to die much faster, leaving areas of the network uncovered and causing network partitions. To mitigate the hot spot problem, we propose an Unequal Cluster-based Routing (UCR) protocol. It groups the nodes into clusters of unequal sizes. Cluster heads closer to the base station have smaller cluster sizes than those farther from the base station, thus they can preserve some energy for the inter-cluster data forwarding.

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A greedy geographic and energy-aware routing protocol is designed for the inter-cluster communication, which considers the tradeoff between the energy cost of relay paths and the residual energy of relay nodes. Simulation results show that UCR mitigates the hot spot problem and achieves an obvious improvement on the network lifetime. Keywords Wireless sensor networks . Unequal clustering . Routing . Network lifetime . Hot spot problem G. Chen () . C. Li . M. Ye State Key Laboratory for Novel Software Technology, Nanjing University Nanjing, 210093, P. R. China e-mail: [email protected] du. cn J. Wu Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA 1 Introduction Rapid technological advances in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and low-power wireless communication have enabled the deployment of large scale wireless sensor networks. The potential applications of sensor networks are highly varied, such as environmental monitoring, target tracking, and battlefield surveillance [1, 2]. Sensors in such a network are equipped with sensing, data processing and wireless communication capabilities. Distinguished rom traditional wireless networks, sensor networks are characterized by severe power, computation, and memory constraints. Due to limited and non-rechargeable energy provision, the energy resource of sensor networks should be managed wisely to extend the lifetime of sensors. Although much attention has been paid to low-power hardware design and collaborative signal processing techniques, energy efficient algorithms must be supplied at various networking layers. In addition, it is very important to balance the energy consumption among all sensor nodes to prolong the network lifetime.

We consider a network of energy-constrained sensors that are deployed over a geographic area for monitoring the environment. Each sensor periodically produces information as it monitors its vicinity. The basic operation in such a network is the systematic gathering and transmission of sensed data to a base station for further processing. In order to achieve high energy efficiency and increase the network scalability, sensor nodes can be organized into clusters. Data collected from sensors are sent to the cluster head first, and then forwarded to the base station. The high density of sensor networks ay lead to multiple adjacent sensors generating redundant sensed data, thus data aggregation can be used to eliminate the data redundancy and reduce the communication load [3]. Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 Published online: 3 April 2007 For periodical data-gathering applications, a method to group sensor nodes into clusters and aggregate data within clusters has been proposed in [4]. Within a sensor node, the dominant energy consumer is the radio unit. When the network is partitioned into clusters, data transmission can be classified into two stages; intra- and inter-cluster communication.

Non-cluster-head nodes first send their data to the cluster head, and then cluster heads send the data to the base station. Most of the works in the literature use single hop intra-cluster communication mode. Notice that the base station is usually located far away from the sensing area. Previous research (e. g. , [5]) has shown that multihop inter-cluster communication mode is usually more energy efficient because of the characteristics of wireless channel. Thus it? fs better to let cluster heads cooperate with each other to forward their data to the base station.

However, the many-to-one traffic pattern results in the hot spot problem when the multihop forwarding mode is adopted in intercluster communication. Because the cluster heads closer to the base station are burdened with heavier relay traffic, the area near the base station becomes a hot spot. Nodes in the hot spot drain their energy and die much faster than other nodes in the network, reducing sensing coverage and causing network partitions. Although many protocols proposed in the literature reduce energy consumption on forwarding aths to increase energy efficiency, they do not necessarily extend the network lifetime due to the unbalanced energy consumption. In this paper,we propose and evaluate an Unequal Clusterbased Routing (UCR) protocol for mitigating the hot spot problem in wireless sensor networks. It is designed for longlived, source-driven sensor network applications, such as periodical environmental information reporting. UCR does not require special node capabilities, such as location-awareness or heterogeneity. UCR consists of two parts, one is an Energy-Efficient Unequal Clustering (EEUC) algorithm for opology management, and the other is a greedy geographic and energy-aware routing protocol for inter-cluster communication. The main contribution of the paper is that we provide the first unequal cluster-based routing protocol to mitigate the hot spot problem mentioned before and thus prolong the network lifetime. EEUC is a self-organized competitionbased algorithm, where cluster heads are selected based on local information (i. e. , the residual energy of neighboring nodes). The node? fs competition range decreases as its distance to the base station decreases. The result is that clusters loser to the base station are expected to have smaller cluster sizes, thus the cluster heads will consume lower energy during the intra-cluster data processing, and can preserve some more energy for the inter-cluster relay traffic. The inter-cluster multihop routing protocol considers the tradeoff between the energy cost of relay links and the energy of relay nodes. Because the UCR protocol considers the impacts of intra- and inter-cluster traffic simultaneously, it successfully mitigates the hot spot problem and achieves a remarkable network lifetime improvement shown in simulation results.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. Section 2 summarizes related work. Section 3 describes the network model and elaborates the hot spot problem that we address in this work. Section 4 presents the EEUC algorithm and inter-cluster multihop routing protocol in detail. Section 5 analyzes some properties of UCR. Section 6 shows UCR? fs effectiveness via simulations, and compares UCR with HEED [9]. Section 7 concludes the paper with directions for future work. 2 Related work During the last few years, there has been substantial research in the area of routing in wireless sensor networks.

Proposed protocols can be classified into data-centric, hierarchical, location-based, network flow and QoS-aware routing [6]. Many energy-efficient (hierarchical) clustering algorithms have been proposed to prolong the network lifetime [4, 7. 12]. We reviewsome of the most relevant papers. Heinzelman et al. [4] first propose a clustering protocol called LEACH for periodical data-gathering applications. LEACH uses randomized rotation of cluster heads to distribute energy consumption over all nodes in the network. In the data transmission phase, each cluster head forwards an aggregated packet to the base station directly.

An energy-aware variant of LEACH is proposed in [7], in which the nodes with higher energy are more likely to become cluster heads. However, the underlying routing protocol is assumed to be able to propagate node residual energy through the network. The authors analytically determine the optimum number of cluster heads. Choi et al. [8] propose a two-phase clustering (TPC) scheme. At the cluster head electing stage, each node advertises for cluster head with a random delay, and the node who overhears others? f advertisement will cancel its scheduled advertisement. After forming the initial clusters, each cluster member earches for a neighbor closer than the cluster head within the cluster to set up an energy-saving data relay link. HEED [9] introduces a variable known as cluster radius which defines the transmission power to be used for intra-cluster broadcast. The initial probability for each node to become a tentative cluster head depends on its residual energy, and final heads are selected according to the intra-cluster communication cost. HEED terminates within a constant number of iterations, and achieves fairly uniform distribution of cluster heads across the network. VCA [10] is an improvement over HEED.

Sensors vote for their neighbors to elect suitable cluster heads. The authors also propose two strategies to balance the intra-cluster workload among cluster heads. EECS [12] introduces a cluster head competitive algorithm without message exchange iterations. It extends LEACH and Springer 194 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 HEED by choosing cluster heads with more residual energy. It also achieves a decent distribution of cluster heads. While the clustering problem has been extensively explored, researchers have only recently started to study the strategies for balancing the workload among cluster heads hile considering the inter-cluster traffic. In single hop sensor networks, cluster heads use direct communication to reach the base station, and the problem of unbalanced energy consumption among cluster heads arises. Cluster heads farther away from the base station have heavier energy burden due to the long-haul communication links. Consequently, they will die earlier. In EECS [12], a distance-based cluster formation method is proposed to produce clusters of unequal sizes. Clusters farther away from the base station have smaller sizes, thus some energy could be preserved for long-haul data transmission to the base station. On the ther hand, the hot spot problem arises when multihop routing is adopted when cluster heads deliver their data to the base station. Soro and Heinzelman [13] first investigate an unequal clustering model for balancing the energy consumption of cluster heads in multihop sensor networks. The work focuses on a heterogeneous network where cluster heads (super nodes) are deterministically deployed at pre-computed locations. Thus, it? fs easy to control the actual sizes of clusters. Through both theoretical and experimental analyses, the authors show that unequal clustering could be beneficial, especially for heavy traffic applications.

Shu et al. [14] study an optimization problem of balancing energy consumption among cluster heads which is formulated as a signomial optimization problem. The study demonstrates the significance of simultaneously considering the impacts of intra- and intercluster traffic. The hot spot problem addressed in this paper is due to the many-to-one multihop data forwarding pattern on the cluster head backbones. Thus, it? fs similar to the common hot spot problem that appears in flat multihop sensor networks. Researchers have proposed several methods to mitigate this kind of hot spot problem. Perillo et al. 15] analyze two such strategies. Although the network lifetime can be improved by using a more intelligent transmission power control policy that balances the energy consumption of each node, they conclude that it cannot solve the hot spot problem on its own. They also investigate the effectiveness and cost efficiency of using a heterogeneous clustering hierarchy to mitigate the hot spot problem. Olariu and Stojmenovic [16] investigate the theoretical aspects of uneven energy depletion in sinkbased flat sensor networks. They show that for ?? = 2 (power loss rate, refer to Eq. (1) in Section 3. ) the uneven energy depletion phenomenon is intrinsic to the system and no routing strategy can avoid the creation of an energy hole around the sink. They also argue that for larger ?? energy-efficient sensorto- sink routes can be designed and the energy consumption can be balanced across the network. In some works, special assumptions about the sensor network are made to facilitate solving the hot spot problem. For example, in homogenous sensor networks, additional sensor nodes can be deployed in the area near the base station as reservoirs of energy [17]. In [18], multiple sink nodes are deployed to alleviate the ot spot problem in large-scale sensor networks. It also reduces the energy dissipation at each node. Recent research begins to exploit the mobility of some nodes to facilitate the delivery of the sensed data to the base station. Gandham et al. [19] investigate the idea of employing multiple mobile sink nodes to increase the lifetime of sensor networks. They present an ILP (Integer Linear Programming) model to determine the locations of multiple sinks. In [20], a novel linear programming formulation for maximizing the network lifetime is presented to determine the movement of the sink nd the times the sink visits certain network nodes. However, it is not always possible for the sink to be mobile in hostile terrains. Wang et al. [21] investigate a heterogeneous sensor network in which a mobile relay node is employed to address the hot spot problem. They show that a lifetime improvement of four times can be achieved by using a mobile relay node, and the mobile relay needs to stay only within a two hop radius of the data sink. However, these approaches inevitably increase the cost and management complexity of sensor networks, thus they are not always feasible. Location-based geographic routing is also attractive in ireless sensor networks due to its efficiency and scalability, and it is more energy-efficient for data forwarding on the cluster head backbone compared to traditional hopbased methods. Geographic routing algorithms have been studied in the context of wireless networks [22. 24]. Frey and Stojmenovic [25] provide a good review of geographic and energy-aware routing algorithms for wireless sensor networks. In this paper, we study the hot spot problem existing in the hierarchical (cluster-based) wireless sensor networks. The advantages of UCR are as follows. UCR is the first protocol without any aid of a super node [13, 14] or mobile node 19. 21]. In our study there is no need for pre-deployment [13, 14, 17, 18], which greatly simplifies system deployment. Besides that we also present a novel inter-cluster routing strategy considering the metrics of both transmitting distance and residual energy. 3 Preliminaries 3. 1 System model In this paper, we consider a sensor network consisting of N sensor nodes uniformly deployed over a vast field to continuously monitor the environment. We denote the Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 195 i -th sensor by si and the corresponding sensor node set S = {s1, s2, . . . , sN }, where |S| = N.

We make some assumptions about the sensor nodes and the underlying network model: 1. There is a base station (i. e. , data sink) located far from the sensing field. Sensors and the base station are all stationary after deployment. 2. Sensors are homogeneous and have the same capabilities. Each node is assigned a unique identifier (ID). 3. Sensors are capable of operating in an active mode or a low-power sleeping mode. 4. Sensors can use power control to vary the amount of transmission power according to the distance to the desired recipient. 5. Links are symmetric. A node can compute the approximate istance to another node based on the received signal strength, if the transmitting power is known. We use a simplified model shown in [7] for the communication energy dissipation. Both the free space (d2 power loss) and the multi-path fading (d4 power loss) channel models are used, depending on the distance between the transmitter and receiver. The energy spent for transmission of an l-bit packet over distance d is: ET x(l, d) = lEelec + ld?? = lEelec + l f sd2, d < do lEelec + lmpd4, d . do. (1) The electronics energy, Eelec, depends on factors such as the digital coding, and modulation, whereas the amplifier energy, f sd2 r mpd4, depends on the transmission distance and the acceptable bit-error rate. To receive this message, the radio expends energy: ERx (l) = lEelec. (2) It is assumed that the sensed information is highly correlated, thus the cluster head can always aggregate the data gathered from its members into a single length-fixed packet. In some proposed algorithms, relay nodes can aggregate the incoming packets from other clusters together with its own packets. This assumption is impractical because the correlation degree of sensed data from different clusters is comparatively low. In this work, relay nodes don? t aggregate the incoming packets. We assume that a cluster head consumes EDA (nJ/bit/signal) amount of energy for data aggregation. 3. 2 The problem of unbalanced energy consumption In this work, cluster heads form a virtual backbone for intercluster communication. Each head node forwards the data to the base station via a multihop path through other intermediate cluster heads. The reason this is done is because multihop communication is more realistic; nodes may not be able to reach the base station due to the limited transmission range. Even if a node can use power control to send ata to a farther receiver, previous research has shown that it is obviously a waste of energy. However, when multihop routing is adopted in inter-cluster communication, the many-to-one traffic pattern on the cluster head overlay leads to the hot spot problem. In a clustered sensor network, each cluster head spends its energy on intra- and inter-cluster processing. The energy consumed in intra-cluster processing varies proportionally to the number of nodes within the cluster. Proposed clustering algorithms that consider the load balance issue usually produce clusters of even sizes, hus the intra-cluster load is roughly the same for all cluster heads. On the other hand, the inter-cluster traffic load of cluster heads is highly uneven. Cluster heads closer to the base station have a higher load of relay traffic. Consequently, they will die much faster than the other cluster heads, possibly reducing sensing coverage and leading to network partitioning. A fundamental issue in wireless sensor networks is maximizing the network lifetime subject to a given energy constraint. To achieve this goal, energy consumption must be well-balanced among nodes. In homogeneous networks, the luster head role can be periodically rotated among nodes to balance the energy dissipation. However, the hot spot problem cannot be avoided. The main objective of the rotation is to balance the energy consumption among the sensor nodes in each cluster, and it could hardly balance the energy consumption among cluster heads in the inter-cluster multihop routing scenario. We also argue that using node? fs residual energy as the only criterion when selecting cluster heads is not sufficient to balance energy consumption across the network. Selecting cluster heads with more residual energy an only be helpful to balance energy consumption among nodes within a cluster radius in the long term. It is ineffective to balance the load among different cluster heads to avoid the hot spot problem if the cluster heads are uniformly distributed over the network. Because sensor nodes in the hot spot still die faster, it cannot make efficient use of all nodes? f energy. To mitigate the hot spot problem, we introduce a novel unequal clustering protocol for hierarchical routing, called UCR. Both the rotation of cluster heads and choosing cluster heads with more residual energy are adopted into the clustering algorithm EEUC.

It organizes the network into clusters of unequal sizes. By decreasing the number of nodes in clusters with higher relay load near the base station, we can maintain more uniform energy consumption among cluster heads in the long run. Springer 196 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 cluster head cluster member base station Fig. 1 An overview of the UCR protocol 4 The unequal cluster-based routing protocol The UCR protocol consists of two parts: an energy-efficient unequal clustering algorithm called EEUC and an intercluster greedy geographic and energy-aware routing protocol. At the network deployment stage, the base station roadcasts a beacon signal to all sensors at a fixed power level. Therefore each sensor node can compute the approximate distance to the base station based on the received signal strength. It not only helps nodes to select the proper power level to communicate with the base station, but also helps us to produce clusters of unequal sizes. Detailed descriptions of the unequal clustering algorithm and intra-cluster multihop routing protocol are in the following two subsections. Figure 1 gives an overview of the UCR protocol, where the unequal Voronoi cells represent the unequal clusters formed y EEUC and the traffic among cluster heads illustrates our multihop forwarding method. 4. 1 Unequal clustering algorithm Clustering a wireless sensor network means partitioning its nodes into clusters, each one with a cluster head and some ordinary nodes as its members. Similar to LEACH, the operation of UCR is divided into rounds. The task of being a cluster head is rotated among sensors in each round to distribute the energy consumption across the network. EEUC is a distributed cluster head competitive algorithm, where the cluster head selection is primarily based on the residual energy of tentative cluster heads.

Furthermore, EEUC produces clusters of unequal sizes to mitigate the hot spot problem. Clusters closer to the base station have smaller cluster sizes, thus they will consume less energy during the intra-cluster data processing, and can conserve some more energy for the inter-cluster relay traffic. The pseudocode for each sensor node at the cluster head selecting stage is given in Fig. 2. Here we explain the clustering algorithm in detail. First, several tentative cluster heads are randomly selected to compete for final cluster heads. Ordinary nodes become tentative cluster heads with the same probability T which s a predefined threshold. Nodes that fail to be tentative heads keep sleeping until the cluster head selection stage ends. Each tentative cluster head si has a competition range Ri . Different competition ranges are used to produce clusters of unequal sizes. Only one final cluster head is allowed in each competition range. If si becomes a cluster head at the end of the competition, there will not be another cluster head s j in si ? fs competition range. Figure 3 illustrates a topology of tentative cluster heads, where the circles represent different competition ranges of tentative cluster heads. In Fig. both s1 and s2 can be final cluster heads, but s3 and s4 cannot. Therefore, the distribution of cluster heads can be controlled over the network. Cluster heads closer to the base station should support smaller cluster sizes, thus more clusters need to be produced closer to the base station. That is to say, the tentative cluster head? fs competition range should decrease as its distance to the base station decreases. We need to select a proper scope of competition ranges in the network. Suppose R0 is the maximum competition range which is predefined, and the minimum competition range is set to (1 . )R0 correspondingly, where c is a constant coefficient between 0 and 1. Thus the tentative cluster head si ? fs competition range Ri can be expressed as a linear function of its distance to the base station: Ri = 1 . c dmax . d(si , BS) dmax . dmin R0 (3) where dmax and dmin denote the maximum and minimum distance between sensor nodes in the network and the base station, and d(si , BS) denotes the distance between si and the base station. According to Eq. (3), if c is set to 13 , Ri varies from 23 R0 to R0 according to the distance between si and the base station. Each tentative cluster head maintains a set SCH of its gadjacent? h tentative cluster heads. In lines 10. 13 of Fig. 2, each tentative head constructs its SCH. Tentative head s j is an ? gadjacent? h node of si if s j is in si ? fs competition diameter or si is in s j ? fs competition diameter. Whether a tentative cluster head si will become a final cluster head depends on the nodes in si . SCH only, i. e. , the algorithm is localized. In the cluster head selecting algorithm, the broadcast radius of every control message is R0, thus si can hear all messages from nodes in its SCH. In line 6 of Fig. 2, each tentative cluster head broadcasts a COMPETE HEAD MSG which ontains its competition radius and residual energy (RE). After the construction of SCH has finished in lines 10. 13, each tentative cluster head checks its SCH and makes a decision as to whether it can act as a cluster head in lines 14. 26. Before deciding what its role is going to be, si needs to know what Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 197 Cluster head competitive algorithm for node si 1: ? E ? © RAND(0, 1) 2: if? E < T then 3: beTentativeHead? © TRUE 4: end if 5: if beT entativeHead = TRUE then 6: broadcast a COMPETE HEAD MSG(si. ID,Ri, si. RE) 7: else 8: EXIT 9: end if 0: on receiving a COMPETE HEAD MSG from node sj 11: if d(si, sj) sj . RE,? Isj ?? si. SCH then 16: broadcast a FINAL HEAD MSG(si . ID) and then EXIT 17: end if 18: on receiving a FINAL HEAD MSG from node sj 19: if sj ?? si. SCH then 20: broadcast a QUIT ELECTION MSG(si . ID) and then EXIT 21: end if 22: on receiving a QUIT ELECTION MSG from node sj 23: if sj ?? si. SCH then 24: remove sj from si. SCH 25: end if 26: end while Fig. 2 Cluster head competitive algorithm each node x in its SCH such that x. RE > si . RE has decided for itself. In case of a tie, the smaller node ID is chosen. In lines 15. 7, once si finds that its residual energy is more than all the nodes in its SCH, it will win the competition and broadcast a FINAL HEAD MSG to inform its adjacent tentative cluster heads. In lines 18. 21, if s j belongs to si . SCH and si receives a FINAL HEAD MSG from s j , si will give up the competition immediately, and inform all nodes in its SCH by broadcasting a QUIT ELECTION MSG. In lines 22. 25, if si receives a QUIT ELECTION MSG form s j and s j belongs to si . SCH, si will remove s j from its SCH. After cluster heads have been selected, sleeping nodes now wake up and each cluster head broadcasts a CH ADV MSG cross the network field. Each ordinary node chooses its closest cluster head with the largest received signal strength and then informs the cluster head by sending a JOIN CLUSTER MSG. A Voronoi diagram of sensor nodes is then constructed. The cluster head sets up a TDMA schedule and transmits it to the nodes in the cluster. After the TDMA schedule is known by all nodes in the cluster, the setup phase is completed and the steady-state operation (data transmission) can begin. The organization of intra-cluster data transmission is similar to LEACH after clusters have been set up, so we omit it in this section. 4. Inter-cluster multihop routing When cluster heads deliver their data to the base station, each cluster head first aggregates the data from its cluster members, and then sends the packet to the base station via a multihop path through other intermediate cluster heads. The routing problem here differs substantially from that of traditional ad-hoc wireless networks because of the many-toone traffic pattern. On the other hand, both query-driven and event-driven routing protocols for wireless sensor networks are not suitable for the cluster head virtual backbone. In [9], Younis et al. prove that HEED can produce a connected ultihop cluster head backbone using a fixed inter-cluster transmission range. Using the fixed transmission power Springer 198 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 s1 s 2 s 3 s4 R2 R1 R R4 3 Fig. 3 The competition among tentative cluster heads facilitates its implementation on the TinyOS platform, where the multihop routing uses a shortest-path-first algorithm [27]. By using adjustable transmission range and weak location information, we design a greedy geographic and energy-aware multihop routing protocol to extend the network lifetime. Before selecting the next hop node, each cluster head roadcasts a short beacon message across the network at a fixed power which consists of its node ID, residual energy, and distance to the base station. Distance between each pair of cluster heads can be calculated approximately according to the received signal strength. We introduce a threshold TD MAX in the multihop routing protocol. If a node? fs distance to the base station is smaller than TD MAX, it transmits its data to the base station directly; otherwise it? fs better to find a relay node which can forward its data to the base station. In the previous work [28], Ye et al. efines the region within TD MAXas the hot spot, and investigates the optimal value of TD MAX to maximize the network lifetime in an equal clustered network. It is worth explaining that the value of TD MAX is always smaller than the actual maximum transmission range of a sensor node as we try to avoid the long-distance direct communication of heavy traffic. A node could still use a transmission range larger than TD MAX if necessary. To reduce wireless channel interference, it is better to choose an adjacent node as the relay node [29]. Because the transmission power of cluster heads is adjustable, hop ount is improper to be used is a poor method of defining neighboring relations. In this paper, the multihop forwarding algorithm considers nodes on the cluster head backbone in the forward direction (i. e. , closer to the base station) only. The neighboring node set RCH of cluster head si is defined as si . RCH = {s j | d(si , s j ) . xRi , d(s j , BS) < d(si , BS)}. (4) x is the minimum integer that lets si . RCH contain at least one item (if there doesn? ft exist such an x, define si . RCH as a null set, and si will send its own data together with forwarding data directly to the base station).

Choosing the relay node with more residual energy could balance the energy consumption to extend the network lifetime. On the other hand, decreasing the energy cost per packet also contributes to the network lifetime. Here we propose a greedy geographic forwarding algorithm that aims to minimize the energy cost per packet. Suppose si chooses s j as its relay node. For simplicity, we assume a free space propagation channel model. Because a localized algorithm is desirable, we assume there is a virtual hop between s j and the base station. To deliver an l-length packet to the base station, the total energy consumed by si nd s j is E2. hop(si , s j ) = ET x(l, d(si , s j )) + ERx (l) + ET x(l, d(s j , BS)) = l(Eelec + f sd2(si , s j )) + lEelec +l(Eelec + f sd2(s j , BS)) = 3lEelec + l f s(d2(si , s j ) + d2(s j , BS)) (5) according to Eqs. (1) and (2). Thus we define Erelay(si , s j ) = d2(si , s j ) + d2(s j , BS) (6) as the energy cost of the path si ?? s j ?? BS. We use the distance between nodes rather than precise location information of s j to define the energy cost of the relay path. The bigger the Erelay is, the more energy will be consumed for transmitting packets on the path.

In the localized routing algorithm, si first chooses k eligible neighbor nodes from si . RCH, denoted as the set Seligible: si . Seligible = {s j | s j ?? si . RCH, Erelay(si , s j ) is the k smallest}. (7) The pseudocode for constructing si . Srelay is given in Fig. 4. To reduce inefficiencies of energy consumption, a tradeoff should be made between the two criteria of residual energy and link cost Erelay. In our mechanism, si chooses as its relay node the neighbor in si . Seligible that has the biggest residual energy. Besides the tradeoff between the two different goals, we propose another goal to balance the energy consumption.

The nodes near the base station send the forwarding data directly to the base station, thus they may deplete their energy quickly if the base station is located far from the network field. In our solution, if cluster head s j ? fs distance to the base Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 199 1: while ? Isj ?? RCH is not null do 2: compute Erelay(si, sj) 3: if |Srelay| < k then 4: put sj into Seligible 5: else 6: find out sm that satisfies Erelay(si, sm) = max{Erelay(si, sn)}, ? Isn ?? Seligible 7: if Erelay(si, sj) < Erelay(si, sm) then 8: replace sm with sj in Seligible 9: end if 10: end if 11: remove sj from RCH 2: end while Fig. 4 Eligible neighbor nodes choosing algorithm Fig. 5 Time line showing UCR operation station is smaller than TD MAX, and cluster head si selects s j as its relay node according to the approach described before, and if the residual energy of s j is smaller than that of si, we let si communicate with the base station directly rather than aggravating the load of s j . In this way, energy of s j can be saved and the network lifetime is extended further. After each cluster head has chosen a relay node or decided to transmit its data to the the base station directly, a tree rooted at the base station is constructed.

A cluster head receives data packets from tree descendants and sends them with the cluster? fs own packets up to the root. Figure 5 illustrates the operation of UCR by the time line for one data gathering round. It begins with a clustering phase when cluster heads are selected and the intra-cluster TDMA schedule are set-up, followed by a data transmission phase where data are transferred from the nodes to the cluster head and on to the base station via a multihop path. 5 Performance analysis and discussion 5. 1 Complexity and correctness analysis This section presents the analysis of the UCR protocol.

According to Algorithm 1, the cluster head selection process is message driven, thus we first discuss its message complexity. Lemma 1. The message complexity of the cluster formation algorithm is O(N) in the network. Proof: At the beginning of the cluster head selection phase, N ? ~ T tentative cluster heads are produced and each of them broadcasts a COMPETE HEAD MSG. Then each of them makes a decision by broadcasting a FINAL HEAD MSG to act as a final cluster head, or a QUIT ELECTION MSG to act as an ordinary node. Suppose k cluster heads are selected. They send out k CH ADV MSGs, and then (N . k) ordinary nodes ransmit (N . k) JOIN CLUSTER MSGs. Thus the messages add up to 2N ? ~ T + k + N . k = (2T + 1)N at the cluster formation stage per round, i. e. , O(N). Lemma 2. There is no chance that two nodes are both cluster heads if one is in the other? fs competition range. Proof: Suppose s j and sk are both tentative cluster heads, and sk is located within the circle of s j ? fs competition range. According to Algorithm 1, each node belongs to the other node? fs SCH. If s j first becomes a head node, then it will notice sk its state, so sk quits the competition and becomes an ordinary node; vice versa.

Lemma 1 shows that the message overhead of EEUC is small. In HEED, the clustering algorithm terminates in Niter iterations which can be bounded by a constant, and each tentative cluster head generates at most Niter messages in the process. Because we have avoided the message iteration in the cluster head selection algorithm, the message exchange overhead in EEUC is much lower than that in HEED. As described before, the threshold T determines the number of tentative cluster heads. Enough tentative cluster heads Springer 200 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 guarantee good head choosing in terms of residual energy.

On the other hand, too many tentative cluster heads cause a considerable message overhead. Thus a proper value of T should be chosen in order to guarantee the quality of head selection and reduce the message overhead. Then we simply analyze the impact of R0 and c on the network lifetime. According to Eq. (3), c dominates the unequal extent of cluster sizes. The bigger c is, the bigger the scope of competition range is, and the greater difference the cluster sizes exhibit. When c is set to 0, EEUC just performs as an equal clustering algorithm and cannot balance the energy onsumption among cluster heads very well. The number of clusters constructed in each round is determined by both R0 and c. Intuitively, it decreases with the increase of R0 when c is fixed, and it increases with the increase of c when R0 is fixed. In order to balance the energy consumption well, R0 and c should be properly set. Formulating the parameters to maximize the network lifetime is left for future work. Finally, we give an explanation of the guideline for UCR to balance energy consumption of sensor nodes across the network. Due to smaller sizes of clusters in the hot spot, odes are selected as cluster heads more frequently than these not in the hot spot. Energy holes may still appear though the intra-cluster load of cluster heads in hot spot could be reduced via unequal clustering. Our solution is that in each round, let heads in the hot spot consume less energy (intra- and inter-cluster cost in total) than these not in the hot spot, rather than consuming the same energy. This can be accomplished through decreasing the cluster size and intercluster transmission range of cluster heads in the hot spot simultaneously. As a rough example, suppose s1 is a node n the hot spot, and it is selected as a head every 10 rounds; s2 not in hot spot, as a head every 15 rounds. Suppose the energy consumption of s1 in a round is 0. 1J if s1 is a head, and for s2 0. 15J. We ignore the energy consumption in rounds when it is an ordinary node. In every 30 rounds, s1 and s2 consume the same amount of energy: for s1, it is 0. 1J*3, and for s2 it is 0. 15J*2. So the energy hole is avoided. Although the explanation is not formalized, it serves as a reasonable guideline to balancing the load across the network. 5. 2 Discussion In this section, we discuss the design details for practical deployment of UCR.

In Fig. 6, we see that UCR includes four time triggers: (1) cluster head selection trigger (T1), (2) cluster set-up trigger (T2), (3) intra-cluster communication trigger (T3), and (4) inter-cluster communication trigger (T4). These triggers are used to switch MAC protocols and schedule duty cycles. First we describe the MAC mechanism together with the duty cycles schedule in various phases of the UCR protos1 s2 s3 s4 s5 Fig. 6 A monotonic energy chain of five nodes col. T1 triggers the cluster heads competition phase. Nontentative cluster heads turn off their radio to save energy at the moment.

Tentative cluster heads exchange the control messages using the carrier-sense multiple access (CSMA) MAC protocol. T2 triggers waking up of non-cluster head nodes. The CH ADV MSG, the JOIN CLUSTER MSG, and the TDMA schedule message are transmitted using CSMA too. Note that the number of time slots in each cluster depends on the number of member nodes in the cluster. T3 triggers intra-cluster data transmission. Member nodes turn off their radio at all times except during their transmit time. To reduce inter-cluster interference, nodes in each cluster communicate using direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS).

Each cluster uses a unique spreading code; all the nodes in the cluster transmit their data to the cluster head using this spreading code. Readers can refer to [31] for details about code assignments for each cluster. A cluster head turns off its radio once the cluster? fs TDMA time slots run out. T4 triggers waking up of all cluster heads. They transmit control messages and data packets using CSMA. In each phase, an appropriate time interval should be chosen to let UCR run correctly. The time interval depends on the network scale and wireless channel quality. In the waiting time between T1 and T2, the cluster ead selection algorithm needs several message propagation steps to finish. In order to decide whether it is going to be a cluster head or an ordinary node, the tentative head si waits for the decision of each node x in its SCH such that x. RE > si . RE. When T2 starts, all nodes who have not made their decisions exit the competing process immediately, and then final cluster heads broadcast their wills. Let? fs refer to Fig. 6 to gain an insight into the problem of waiting time. Suppose s1. RE < s2. RE < s3. RE < s4. RE < s5. RE, i. e. , they form a monotone incremental energy chain.

The following events will happen one after another: first s5 claims that it is a final cluster head, so s4 quits the competition, then s3 announces that it wins the competition too, so s2 decides to be an ordinary node, and at last s1 becomes a cluster head. It takes four message steps for s1 to make its decision in such a chain of five nodes. The example shows that the waiting time depends on the length of the longest monotone energy chain. However, because the residual energy of tentative cluster Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 201 heads is distributed randomly, the longer a monotone energy hain is, the smaller the probability is. In [30], Basagni analyzes a similar problem and points out that the waiting time depends on the energy topology of the network rather than on the number of nodes in the network. The length of time interval between T2 and T3 should allow the CH ADV MSG, JOIN CLUSTER MSG, and TDMA schedule messages to successfully propagate. T3 equals to the beginning of the first time slot for intra-cluster communication. The length of the time interval between T3 and T4 depends on the maximum size of clusters in the network because each cluster member holds a TDMA time slot. The maximum ize can be estimated with R0 and the node density of the network. Synchronization is important for the operation of UCR. We assume that all sensor nodes are synchronized and start the clustering phase at the same time. This could be achieved, for example, by having the base station periodically broadcast synchronization pulses. Readers can refer to [26] for further study about the time synchronization issue in clustered wireless sensor networks. There is a cost in terms of energy and time to set up the clusters for UCR. If the clustering overhead is incomparable to the application packet load, clustering can be triggered very data-gathering round. For applications where all nodes are continuously sending reports, however, frequent cluster rotation will cause the system to always be in an unstable state which might lead to data losses and delayed response. Therefore, there is a trade-off in determining how long to make the steady-state phase, and it is application specific. 6 Simulation results In this section, we evaluate the performance of UCR via simulations. First we study the cluster head characteristics of the unequal clustering algorithm, and then we investigate the parameter settings and the energy efficiency of UCR in terms of he network lifetime. Because this paper focuses on energy efficient routing in the network layer, an idealMAC layer and error-free communication links are assumed for simplicity. For these simulations, energy is consumed whenever a sensor transmits or receives data or performs data aggregation. Because HEED is the most similar self-organized clustering protocol, we use it for comparison. For HEED, we use the average minimum reachability power (AMRP) [9] as the intra-cluster communication cost function. The simulation parameters are given in Table 1, in which the parameters of adio model are the same as those in LEACH [7]. It is worth mentioning that we assume a rectangle network field other than a square field. Under this model longer multihop paths to the base station are produced, which helps evaluate the Table 1 Simulation parameters Parameter Value Network field (0,0). (400,200) m Base station location (500,100) m N 600 Initial energy 1 J Eelec 50 nJ/bit f s 10 pJ/bit/m2 mp 0. 0013 pJ/bit/m4 do 87 m EDA 5 nJ/bit/signal Data packet size 4000 bits effects of the UCR protocol to mitigate the severe hot spot problem. Unless otherwise specified, we set T to 0. 2, R0 to 80 m, c to 0. in Eq. (3), TD MAX to 200 m, and k to 2. Actually, these values are found through simulations described below. 6. 1 Cluster head characteristics As we have explained in the previous section, the number of selected cluster heads varies according to the specified R0 and c. Figure 7 shows the average number of cluster heads generated by UCR. For a fixed value of c, the number of clusters decreases as the value of R0 increases. Notice that when R0 is fixed and c increases, the competition radius decreases accordingly, thus UCR generates more clusters as shown in the figure. It testifies our analysis, i. e. the smaller the competition radius, the larger the required number of clusters to cover the network. Since each cluster head is responsible for aggregating the data from its cluster members into a single length-fixed packet, only one data packet needs to be delivered to the base station out of a cluster. Thus the more clusters are present, the more messages need to 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 R 0 # of clusters c =0 c =0. 3 c =0. 6 Fig. 7 The number of clusters Springer 202 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 10 11 12 13 14 15 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 number of clusters percentage of rounds

UCR HEED Fig. 8 Distribution of the number of clusters be delivered to the base station, resulting in overall energy consumption increases. In LEACH [7], the authors give an estimation of the optimum number of clusters in single hop clustered networks. However, it cannot be applied to the unequal cluster-based routing protocol proposed in thiswork. We give simulation results of the effect of R0 and c on the network lifetime later on. Next we examine the stability of our clustering algorithm. Figure 8 shows the distribution of the number of clusters in UCR, HEED. The percentage is calculated from 100 randomly elected rounds of the simulation. In this scenario the cluster radius of HEED is also set to R0 too. UCR generates 13 or 14 cluster heads in 70% rounds, and HEED also generates 12 or 13 cluster heads in 70% rounds. Thus the number of clusters in both UCR and HEED is steady. For UCR, a certain proportion of nodes voluntarily join the cluster head competition, thus the number of selected cluster heads won? ft be too small. On the other hand, according to Lemma 2 the number of selected heads won? ft be too large. As a matter of fact, the number of clusters in UCR depends on the competition range of all tentative cluster heads.

Thus UCR achieves a steady number of clusters. For HEED, the probability that two nodes within each other? fs cluster range are both cluster heads is small. Therefore the clustering approach also generates a steady number of clusters. It is worth mentioning that UCR generates more clusters than HEED does because the unequal clustering method produces more cluster heads in the area closer to the base station to afford the forwarding traffic. 6. 2 Parameter setting There are several parameters in UCR, namely T , R0, c, TD MAX, and k. In this part we study the parameter setting with regard to the network lifetime.

We measure the lifetime in terms of the data gathering rounds when the first 0 0. 1 0. 2 0. 3 0. 4 0. 5 0. 6 400 600 800 1000 1200 T # rounds until the first node dies N=400 N =600 Fig. 9 The network lifetime with different T node dies, because a certain area cannot be monitored any more once a sensor node exhausts its energy. First, we examine the effect of T on the network lifetime. We add a sparse network scenario in which the number of sensor nodes N is decreased to 400. As T varies from 0. 05 to 0. 6, Fig. 9 shows the relation between T and the network lifetime in the two scenarios.

There is an optimal range for the value of T , i. e. , 0. 1. 0. 3. According to the explanation about T in Section 5, the value of T should be properly chosen to guarantee the cluster heads quality and reduce the message overhead. Another point to be mentioned is that for the dense network a smaller T is preferred. When T increases from 0. 3 to 0. 6, the network lifetime of the dense network (N = 600) decreases more dramatically than that of the sparse network (N = 400). The reason is that it suffers serious message overhead according to Lemma 1. Second, we investigate the impact of the parameters R0 and c on the network lifetime.

We observe the network lifetime for different settings of R0 and c, and the result is shown in Fig. 10. It suggests that there is a tradeoff among R0, c, and the network lifetime. On one hand, R0 is the dominant factor that impacts the network lifetime. The reason is that 0 0. 2 0. 4 0. 6 0. 8 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 c # rounds until the first node dies R 0 =50 R 0 =60 R 0 =70 R 0 =80 R 0 =90 R 0 =100 Fig. 10 The network lifetime with different R0 and c Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 203 the number of clusters in a given network scale is mainly determined by R0. When R0 is set to 80 m, the network lifetime is prolonged furthest.

On the other hand, it shows that the unequal clustering method can extend the network lifetime. As we have explained previously, c determines the difference of cluster sizes. Under each setting of R0, we can see the network lifetime varies as c varies. When c is set to 0, EEUC performs as an equal clustering approach. When c increases from 0, the energy consumption becomes gradually balanced among cluster heads, therefore the network lifetime increases. However, the lifetime decreases when c is too large. This is because too many clusters will be produced closer to the base station, and each of them will deliver a ata packet to the base station, which causes a waste of energy. Therefore, there exists an optimal value of c for a given R0 that could best extend the network lifetime. Under the network scale of this simulation, 0. 3 is approximately the optimal value of c for R0 among 60 m and 80 m. Third, we study the impact of R0 and TD MAX on the network lifetime. TD MAXdetermines the area where nodes should communicate with the base station directly. Since the cost of forwarding packets from other clusters to the far away base station is considerably high, the size of this area should be properly set to save and balance the energy consumption.

We observe the network lifetime for different settings of R0 and TD MAX, and the result is shown in Fig. 11. Similar to Fig. 10, it also demonstrates that R0 plays a critical role in the network lifetime. We also see that the network lifetime varies as TD MAX varies, and there exists an optimal value of TD MAX for a given R0. Under the network scale of this simulation, 200 m is approximately the optimal value of TD MAX for R0 among 60 m and 80 m. If TD MAX becomes larger, too many cluster heads directly send their data to the base station, resulting in a waste of energy. On the other hand, if TD MAX becomes smaller, the average oad of cluster heads in the direct communication area is too high, resulting in premature creation of energy holes in that area. 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 TD_MAX # rounds until the first node dies R 0 =50 R 0 =60 R 0 =70 R 0 =80 R 0 =90 R 0 =100 Fig. 11 The network lifetime with different TD MAX 1 2 3 4 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 k # rounds until the first node dies Fig. 12 The network lifetime with different k Finally, we study the effect of k in the inter-cluster routing protocol on the network lifetime. In the routing algorithm, node si chooses as its relay node the neighbor that as the biggest residual energy among the k smallest Erelay neighbors. To produce a dense cluster head backbone for the validation of multihop routing algorithm, R0 is set to 50 m in this simulation to generate more clusters. Figure 12 shows the relation between k and the network lifetime. When k is set to 1, the routing algorithm is just a greedy geographic forwarding approach that doesn? ft consider the relay node? fs residual energy. When k becomes larger, the routing algorithm considers the relay node? fs residual energy more for load balance. Figure 12 illustrates the improvement of the network lifetime.

When k is larger than 3, however, the network lifetime is lower than that of the circumstance when k = 1. It suggests the importance of decreasing the total energy cost per packet. In conclusion, the tradeoff in the routing protocol is indeed effective in extending the network lifetime. 6. 3 Energy efficiency In this part, we evaluate the energy efficiency of UCR. First, we compare the network lifetime of UCR and HEED. A similar inter-cluster multihop routing protocol is implemented for HEED as described in [27], in which the link estimation module is omitted because we assume an ideal wireless channel.

We run extensive experiments to determine the optimal cluster radius for HEED. Figure 13 shows the number of sensor nodes still alive over the simulation time. UCR clearly improves the network lifetime (both the time until the first node dies and the time until the last node dies) over HEED. In HEED, tentative cluster heads are randomly selected based on their residual energy. Therefore, sensors with low residual energy can still become cluster heads because it uses the intra-cluster communication cost to select final cluster heads. Furthermore, the energy consumption of cluster Springer 204 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 07 0 500 1000 1500 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 rounds number of alive sensor nodes UCR HEED Fig. 13 The number of alive sensor nodes over time 25 50 75 100 125 150 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 distance to the base station # rounds until the first node dies UCR HEED Fig. 14 The network lifetime as the base station travels farther heads is not well-balanced. Thus nodes in the hot spot die much faster in HEED. This is avoided in UCR because the unequal cluster-based routing protocol aims to mitigate the hot spot problem, thus energy consumption is well-balanced among nodes.

The small interval between the time until the first node dies and the time until the last node dies implies that UCR has successfully mitigated the hot spot problem. Second, we study the impact of the distance to the base station on the network lifetime. We fix the y-coordinate of the base station and adjust its x-coordinate. The distance is computed from the base station to the closest point of the network field. Under each setting of the distance, an optimum TD MAX is chosen to extend the network lifetime. We measure the number of rounds until the first node dies in UCR and HEED, and the result is shown in Fig. 14.

Although the network lifetime severely deteriorates as the distance increases, UCR achieves about 2 ? ~ network lifetime as that in HEED for all base station locations we simulated. It suggests that UCR is more energy-efficient than HEED though they both use multihop routing in inter-cluster communication. 7 Conclusions and future work In this paper, we have introduced a novel unequal clusterbased routing protocol for wireless sensor networks. The hot spot problem arises when employing the multihop routing in a clustered sensor network. We argue that both the rotation of cluster heads and the metric of residual energy are not ufficient to balance the energy consumption across the network. To address the problem, we first introduce an unequal clustering algorithm. Cluster heads closer to the base station have smaller cluster sizes than those farther from the base station, thus they can preserve some energy for the purpose of inter-cluster data forwarding. What is more, we propose an energy-efficient multihop routing protocol for the intercluster communication. Simulation results show that UCR clearly improves the network lifetime over HEED. We assume that a sensor node can compute the approximate distance to another node based on the received beacon ignal strength, if the transmitting power is known. However, error will arise due to the noise in the real network environments. As a future work, we plan to extend the method to increase its robustness. Acknowledgments The preliminary version of this paper has been presented at IEEE MASS? f05. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. The work is supported by China 973 project (2006CB303004), National NSF (60573131, 60673154), China Jiangsu Provincial NSF grant (BK2005208) and TRAPOYT award of China Ministry of Education, and US NSF grants CCR 0329741, CNS 0422762, and CNS 0434533.

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Hu, Distributed code assignments for CDMA packet radio networks, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking 1(6) (1993) 668. 677. Guihai Chen obtained his B. S. degree from Nanjing University, M. Engineering from Southeast University, and PhD from University of Hong Kong. He visited Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan in 1998 as a research fellow, and University of Queensland, Australia in 2000 as a visiting professor. During September 2001 to August 2003, he was a visiting professor atWayne State University. He is now a full professor and deputy chair of Department of Computer Science, Nanjing University. Prof.

Chen has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and refereed conference proceedings in the areas of wireless sensor networks, high-performance computer architecture, peer-to-peer computing and performance evaluation. He has also served on technical program committees of numerous international conferences. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society. Chengfa Li was born 1981 and obtained his Bachelor? fs Degree in mathematics in 2003 and his Masters Degree in computer science in 2006, both from Nanjing University, China. He is now a system programmer at Lucent Technologies Nanjing Telecommunication Springer 06 Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 Corporation. His research interests include wireless ad hoc and sensor networks. Mao Ye was born in 1981 and obtained his Bachelor? fs Degree in computer science from Nanjing University, China, in 2004. He served as a research assistant at City University of Hong Kong from September 2005 to August 2006. He is now a PhD candidate with research interests in wireless networks, mobile computing, and distributed systems. Jie Wu is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Florida Atlantic University. He has published more than 300 papers in various journal and conference proceedings.

His research interests are in the areas of mobile computing, routing protocols, faulttolerant computing, and interconnection networks. Dr. Wu serves as an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems and several other international journals. He served as an IEEE Computer Society Distinguished Visitor and is currently the chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Distributed Processing (TCDP). He is a member of the ACM, a senior member of the IEEE, and a member of the IEEE Computer Society. Springer Wireless Netw (2009) 15:193. 207 207