Dr Geoff V. Merrett
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Simulating and Modelling Energy-Harvesting WSNs

Research Theme: Energy-Harvesting Sensor Networks

Modelling and Simulating Wireless Sensor Networks

wireless sensor network Network simulators are used to compare different network protocols and algorithms. In general (though it may require a modification or add-on), the simulator allows a number of sensor nodes to be distributed, which can communicate with each other using a communications protocol. The most widely used simulator for WSNs is the Unix based 'ns-2', a discrete event simulator targeted at networking research including wired and wireless networks. Other network simulators exist including OPNET's 'Modeler' and add-on module 'Wireless', the public source OMNET++ environment, and the TinyOS network simulator - TOSSIM.

Physical and Environmental Modelling

The decision was made to implement a custom simulator as it would allow results to be obtained early on in the project without overcoming the steep learning curve associated with available network simulators. Additionally, the simulator could be tailored specifically to the designed algorithm.

Simulating Wireless Sensor Networks

The simulator, named WSNsim (Wireless Sensor Network simulator), was developed in Microsoft Visual Studio .net. WSNsim creates a virtual environment over which sensor nodes and dynamic events (properties that can be monitored by a sensor node) are scattered. When the simulation is executed, nodes in the network detect events in their local area and, if required, propagate messages throughout the network using multi-hop routing. The operation of WSNsim is coordinated around the concept of the timestep - the smallest period of discrete time known by the nodes in the network. Every timestep, the sensor nodes inspect the environment around them to locate events, and receive an energy increase through harvesting (if applicable). Vibration harvesting (or any other form of energy harvesting) can be modelled in WSNsim using a mathematical representation, tabulated data, or a combination of both. The WSN can be configured to have either a fixed base station (all nodes attempt to send data to a single processing node), or a distributed network (nodes send data to other nodes in the network). WSNsim can simulate a wide variety of different configurations and applications, and provides a platform upon which objective observations can be made, without claiming to accurately model wireless channels or sensor nodes.

Project Website: http://wise.ecs.soton.ac.uk/project.php?id=545

Related Publications

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© Geoff Merrett 2017