SPIE Defense + Security 2008
Conference paper

Addressing practical challenges in utility optimization of mobile wireless sensor networks

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This paper examines the practical challenges in the application of the distributed network utility maximization (NUM) framework to the problem of resource allocation and sensor device adaptation in a mission-centric wireless sensor network (WSN) environment. By providing rich (multi-modal), real-time information about a variety of (often inaccessible or hostile) operating environments, sensors such as video, acoustic and short-aperture radar enhance the situational awareness of many battlefield missions. Prior work on the applicability of the NUM framework to mission-centric WSNs has focused on tackling the challenges introduced by i) the definition of an individual mission's utility as a collective function of multiple sensor flows and ii) the dissemination of an individual sensor's data via a multicast tree to multiple consuming missions. However, the practical application and performance of this framework is influenced by several parameters internal to the framework and also by implementation-specific decisions. This is made further complex due to mobile nodes. In this paper, we use discrete-event simulations to study the effects of these parameters on the performance of the protocol in terms of speed of convergence, packet loss, and signaling overhead thereby addressing the challenges posed by wireless interference and node mobility in ad-hoc battlefield scenarios. This study provides better understanding of the issues involved in the practical adaptation of the NUM framework. It also helps identify potential avenues of improvement within the framework and protocol.