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Förslaget inkom 2010-10-18

Performance Study of using Flooding in Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks


One trend in wireless networking is the adoption of low-power, low-cost, and low-rate standards for ambient intelligence. The dominant standard is IEEE 802.15.4 low-rate wireless personal area network (LR-WPAN) operating in the 868/915 MHz and 2.4 GHz ISM bands. An industrial alliance called ZigBee specifies the upper layers based upon the IEEE 802.4.15 specification. However, testing in industrial environments reveal that ZigBee is not suitable for industrial applications which require deterministic latency and high reliability. These two parameters are correlated to the availability for processing automation and manufacturing. To overcome these problems, two new industrial wireless standards, WirelessHART and ISA100.11a-2009, has emerged which both targets the automation industry. In many wireless sensor networks, and in particular in industrial wireless sensor networks (IWSN), the requirement on battery lifetime is extreme. Sensors are small devices that can generate data about the environment (for example, measure of temperature) and can be used them for specific services (for example, emit an alarm when surrounding temperature is too high). They embed wireless communication capabilities for exchanging data between them, shaping thus an implicit network called a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN). A crucial problem for WSN is the one to transmit data from a given source sensor to a given destination. It is called routing. A routing protocol encapsulates the data into messages and then computes a path in the WSN to move them from sensor to sensor until reaching the target. Routing protocols for WSN have two specifities. First, communications within a WSN are subject to faults such as link failures due to interferences and crash failures due to the low-power batteries of sensors. The structure of a WSN is highly dynamics and routing paths cannot be computed statically and once for all. Second, sensors can only communicate with other nearby sensors: routing paths can only be computed locally, piece by piece thanks to distributed algorithms.
In flooding, instead of using a specific route for sending a message from one node to another, the message is sent to all the nodes in the network, including those to whom it was not intended. The attractiveness of the flooding technology lies in its high reliability and utter simplicity. There is no need for sophisticated routing techniques since there is no routing. No routing means no network management, no need for self-discovery, no need for self-repair, and, because the message is the payload, no overhead for conveying routing tables or routing information.

Problem Statement:

The questions in this work are, in order of priority (all are not necessarily addressed):
• Can flooding be efficiently used in industrial wireless sensor networks?
• What is the complexity to integrate flooding algorithms into IWSN compared to traditional routing schemes used in Wireless HART and ISA 100?

Tasks and tools:

The thesis work should comprise the following tasks:
• Theoretical study of the approaches, the industry-specific constraints and standards
• Preliminary evaluation through simulation and computations (Matlab or similar)
• Performance evaluation in terms of latency, packet error rate, complexity etc.
• Final report describing the work and results


Students in MSc programs in Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics, and Computer Engineering or similar is suited for this job. Candidates are expected to have a strong background in communication theory and computer science. Good mathematical and programming skills are desired. It is also important that the applicant have good writing and communication skills. Please indicate a list of courses with marks and a CV in your application.

Contact persons:

Mikael Gidlund, [email protected]
Johan Åkerberg, [email protected]

Starting date:

January 2011


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