Analysis of the effect of human presence on a wireless sensor network

Graham, Ben and Tachtatzis, Christos and Di Franco, Fabio and Bykowski, Marek and Tracey, David and Timmons, Nick and Morrison, Jim (2011) Analysis of the effect of human presence on a wireless sensor network. International Journal of Ambient Computing and Intelligence, 3 (1). ISSN 1941-6245 (

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Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are gaining an increasing industry wide adoption. However, there remain major challenges such as network dimensioning and node placement especially in Built Environment Networks (BENs). Decisions on the node placement, orientation, and the number of nodes to cover the area of interest are usually ad-hoc. Ray tracing tools are traditionally employed to predict RF signal propagation; however, such tools are primarily intended for outdoor environments. RF signal propagation varies greatly indoors due to building materials and infrastructure, obstacles, node placement, antenna orientation and human presence. Because of the complexity of signal prediction, these factors are usually ignored or given little weight when such networks are analyzed. The paper’s results show the effects of the building size and layout, building materials, human presence and mobility on the signal propagation of a BEN. Additionally, they show that antenna radiation pattern is a key factor in the RF propagation performance, and appropriate device orientation and placement can improve the network reliability. Further, the RSS facility in RF transceivers can be exploited to detect the presence and motion of humans in the environment.