Distributed TDMA-Scheduling and Schedule-Compaction Algorithms for Efficient Communication in Wireless Sensor Networks
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A wireless sensor network (WSN) is a collection of sensor nodes distributed over a geographical region to obtain the environmental data. It can have different types of applications ranging from low data rate event driven and monitoring applications to high data rate real time industry and military applications. Energy efficiency and reliability are the two major design issues which should be handled efficiently at all the layers of communication protocol stack, due to resource constraint sensor nodes and erroneous nature of wireless channel respectively. Media access control (MAC) is the protocol which deals with the problem of packet collision due to simultaneous transmissions by more than one neighboring sensor nodes. Time Division Multiple Access based (TDMA-based) and contention-based are the two major types of MAC protocols used in WSNs. In general, the TDMA-based channel access mechanisms perform better than the contention-based channel access mechanisms, in terms of channel utilization, reliability and power consumption, specially for high data rate applications in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). TDMA-based channel access employs a predefined schedule so that the nodes can transmit at their allotted time slots. Based on the frequency of scheduling requirement, the existing distributed TDMA-scheduling techniques can be classified as either static or dynamic. The primary purpose of static TDMA-scheduling algorithms is to improve the channel utilization by generating a schedule of smaller length. But, they usually take longer time to generate such a schedule, and hence, are not suitable for WSNs, in which the network topology changes dynamically. On the other hand, dynamic TDMA-scheduling algorithms generate a schedule quickly, but they are not efficient in terms of generated schedule length. We suggest a new approach to TDMA-scheduling for WSNs, that can bridge the gap between these two extreme types of TDMA-scheduling techniques, by providing the flexibility to trade-off between the schedule length and the time required to generate the schedule, as per the requirements of the underlying applications and channel conditions. The suggested TDMA-scheduling works in two phases. In the first phase, we generate a valid TDMA schedule quickly, which need not have to be very efficient in terms of schedule length. In the second phase, we iteratively reduce the schedule length in a manner, such that the process of schedule length reduction can be terminated after the execution of an arbitrary number of iterations, and still be left with a valid schedule. This step provides the flexibility to trade-off the schedule length with the time required to generate the schedule. In the first phase of above TDMA-scheduling approach, we propose two randomized, distributed and parallel TDMA-scheduling algorithms viz., Distributed TDMA Slot Scheduling (DTSS) and Randomized and Distributed TDMA (RD-TDMA) scheduling algorithm. Both the algorithms are based on graph coloring approach, which generate a TDMA schedule quickly with a fixed schedule length ( Colouring), where is the maximum degree of any node in the graph to be colored. The two algorithms differ in the channel access mechanism used by them to transmit control messages, and in the generated schedule for different modes of communication, i.e., unicast, multicast and broadcast. The novelty of the proposed algorithms lies in the methods, by which an uncolored node detects that the slot picked by it is different from the slots picked by all the neighboring nodes, and the selection of probabilities with which the available slots can be picked up. Furthermore, to achieve faster convergence we introduce the idea of dynamic slot-probability update as per which the nodes update their slot-probability by considering the current slot-probability of their neighboring nodes. Under the second phase of the proposed TDMA-scheduling approach, we provide two randomized and distributed schedule compaction algorithms, viz., Distributed Schedule Compaction (DSC) and Distributed Schedule Length Reduction (DSLR) algorithm, as the mechanism to trade-off the scheduling time with the generated schedule length. These algorithms start with a valid TDMA schedule and progressively compress it in each round of execution. Additionally, Furthermore, the execution of these algorithms can be stopped after an arbitrary number of rounds as per the requirements of underlying applications. Even though TDMA-based MAC protocols avoid packet loss due to collision, due to erroneous nature of wireless medium, they alone are not sufficient to ensure the reliable transmission in WSNs. Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ) is the technique commonly used to provide error control for unicast data transmission. Unfortunately, ARQ mechanisms cannot be used for reliable multicast/broadcast transmission in WSNs. To solve this issue, we propose a virtual token-based channel access and feedback protocol (VTCAF) for link level reliable multicasting in single-hop wireless networks. The VTCAF protocol introduces a virtual (implicit) token passing mechanism based on carrier sensing to avoid the collision between feedback messages. The delay performance is improved in VTCAF protocol by reducing the number of feedback messages. Besides, the VTCAF protocol is parametric in nature and can easily trade-off reliability with the delay as per the requirements of the underlying applications. Finally, by integrating all the works, viz., TDMA-scheduling algorithms (DTSS/RD-TDMA), schedule compaction algorithms and link layer feedback mechanism for reliable multicast/ broadcast, we propose a TDMA-based energy aware and reliable MAC protocol, named TEA-MAC for multi-hop WSNs. Similar to VTCAF, TEA-MAC protocol uses the combination of ACK-based and NACK-based approaches to ensure reliable communication. But, instead of using virtual token-based channel access, it uses contention-based channel access for NACK transmission. All the algorithms and protocols proposed in this thesis are distributed, parallel and fault tolerant against packet losses to support scalability, faster execution and robustness respectively. The simulations have been performed using Castalia network simulator to evaluate the performance of proposed algorithms/protocols and also to compare their performance with the existing algorithms/protocols. We have also performed theoretical analysis of these algorithms/protocols to evaluate their performance. Additionally, we have shown the correctness of proposed algorithms/protocols by providing the necessary proofs, whenever it was required. The simulation results together with theoretical analysis show that, in addition to the advantage of trading the runtime with schedule length, the proposed TDMA scheduling approach achieves better runtime and schedule length performance than existing algorithms. Additionally, the TEA-MAC protocol is able to considerably improve the reliability and delay performance of multicast communication in WSNs.
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