Long-term routing stability of wireless sensor networks in a real-world environment

Lim, Cheng Leong and Goh, Cindy and Li, Yun (2019) Long-term routing stability of wireless sensor networks in a real-world environment. IEEE Access, 7. pp. 74351-74360. 8727530. ISSN 2169-3536 (https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2920248)

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The reliability of a wireless sensor network (WSN) is often assessed on node-to-node communication performance through link characterization. Long-term routing stability is an aspect of a WSN that is often overlooked in routing protocol implementations. In this paper, we investigate the routing stability of ZigBee PRO implemented WSN nodes that are deployed in a real-world environment. Frequent changes in next hops along routing paths between source and destination nodes can result in an increase in undesired energy consumption of the WSN. Hence, the relative routing path usage count, usage rate of unique next hop and switching frequency count are proposed as routing stability indicators. Our findings show that routing stability is subjected to not only the quality of a link but also to the implemented routing protocols, deployed environment and routing options available. More importantly, next hops with low usage rates are shown to experience a higher probability of disconnection from the Neighbor Table of respective source nodes, causing them to be short-lived. The need to avoid these links shows the importance of evaluating routing stability and identifying network bottlenecks.