We here present the Forward Planning Situated Protocol (FPSP), for scalable, energy efficient and fault tolerant data propagation in situated wireless sensor networks. To deal with the increased complexity of such deeply networked sensor systems, instead of emphasizing on a particular aspect of the services provided, i.e. either for low-energy periodic, or low-latency event-driven, or high-success query-based sensing, FPSP uses two novel mechanisms that allow the network operator to adjust the performance of the protocol in terms of energy, latency and success rate on a per-task basis. We emphasize on distributedness, direct or indirect interactions among relatively simple agents, flexibility and robustness.
The protocol operates by employing a series of plan & forward phases through which devices self-organize into forwarding groups that propagate data over discovered paths. FPSP performs a limited number of long range, high power data transmissions to collect information regarding the neighboring devices. The acquired information, allows to plan a (parameterizable long by ë) sequence of short range, low power transmissions between nearby particles, based on certain optimization criteria. All particles that decide to respond (based on local criteria) to these long range transmissions enter the forwarding phase during which information is propagated via the acquired plan. Clearly, the duration of the forwarding phases is characterized by the parameter ë, the transmission medium and the processing speed of the devices. In fact the parameter ë provides a mechanism to adjust the protocol performance in terms of the latency--energy trade-off. By reducing ë the latency is reduced at the cost of spending extra energy, while by increasing ë, the energy dissipation is reduced but the latency is increased.
To control the success rate--energy trade-off, particles react locally on environment and context changes by using a set of rules that are based on response thresholds that relate individual-level plasticity with network-level resiliency, motivated by the nature-inspired method for dividing labor, a metaphor of social insect behavior for solving problems . Each particle has an individual response threshold È that is related to the "local" density (as observed by the particle, ); particles engage in propagation of events when the level of the task-associated stimuli exceeds their thresholds. Let s be the intensity of a stimulus associated with a particular sensing task, set by the human authorities. We adopt the response function Tè(s) = snover sn + èn, the probability of performing the task as a function of s, where n > 1 determines the steepness of the threshold. Thus, when è is small (i.e. the network is sparse) then the response probability increases; when s increases (i.e. for critical sensing tasks) the response probability increases as well.
This role-based approach where a selective number of devices do the high cost planning and the rest of the network operates in a low cost state leads to systems that have increased energy efficiency and high fault-tolerance since these long range planning phases allow to bypass obstacles (where no sensors are available) or faulty sensors (that have been disabled due to power failure or other natural events).