Smart Dust is a special case of wireless sensor networks, comprised of a vast number of ultra-small fully autonomous computing, communication and sensing devices, with very restricted energy and computing capabilities, that co-operate to accomplish a large sensing task. Smart Dust can be very useful in practice, i.e. in the local detection of remote crucial events and the propagation of data reporting their realization to a control center.
In this paper, we propose a new energy efficient and fault tolerant protocol for data propagation in smart dust networks, the Variable Transmission Range Protocol (VTRP). The basic idea of data propagation in VTRP is the varying range of data transmissions, i.e. we allow the transmission range to increase in various ways. Thus, data propagation in our protocol exhibits high fault-tolerance (by bypassing obstacles or faulty sensors) and increases network lifetime (since critical sensors, i.e. close to the control center are not overused). As far as we know, it is the first time varying transmission range is used.
We implement the protocol and perform an extensive experimental evaluation and comparison to a representative protocol (LTP) of several important performance measures with a focus on energy consumption. Our findings indeed demonstrate that our protocol achieves significant improvements in energy efficiency and network lifetime.