A wireless sensor network is designed to monitor events and report this information to a central location, or sink node. The information is required to efficiently travel through the network. It is the job of the routing protocol to officiate this process. With transmissions consuming the majority of the energy available to a sensor node, it becomes important to limit their usage while still maintaining reliable communication with the sink node. The aim of the research covered in this dissertation was to adapt the flat and hierarchical architectures to create a new hybrid that draws on current protocol theories. The designed and developed protocol, Hybrid Energy Efficient Routing (HEER) protocol, builds upon the initial groundwork laid out by the previously developed Simple Energy Efficient Routing (SEER) protocol designed by C.J. Leuschner. Another aspect of the work was to focus on the current lack of credibility that is present in the WSN research community. The validity of SEER was examined and tested and this led to the main focus of this research, ensuring that HEER proves to be valid. The HEER protocol for wireless sensor networks is designed such that it is computationally simple, limits the number of transmissions, employs a cross-layer approach, is reliable, is energy-aware, has limited support for mobile nodes, is energy efficient, and most importantly is credible. Sensor nodes are extremely limited when it comes to their available energy resources. To maximise the node and network lifetimes requires the designed algorithm to be energy aware and as efficient as possible. A cross-layer design approach is followed which allows for the different layers of the OSI model to interact. The HEER protocol limits the number of transmissions that are used for network operation. This is achieved by using a minimal amount of messages for network setup and by selecting the optimal route. Route selection is calculated using hop count, current energy available, energy available on the receiving node, and lastly the energy required to reach the destination node. HEER combines and expands upon the method used by SEER for route selection. Network lifetime for networks of large sizes is increased, mainly due to more efficient routing of messages. The protocol was kept computationally simple and energy efficient, thus maintaining network survivability for as long as possible.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2008.