Technical Report Number
Home area networks (HANs) consisting of wireless sensors have emerged as the enabling technology for important applications such as smart energy and assisted living. A key challenge faced in deploying robust wireless sensor networks (WSNs) for home automation applications is the need to provide long-term, reliable operation in the face of the varied sources of interference found in typical residential settings. To better understand the channel dynamics in these environments, we performed an in-depth empirical study of the performance of HANs in ten real-life apartments. Our empirical study leads to several key insights into designing robust HANs for residential environments. For example, we discover that there is not always a persistently good channel over 24 hours in many apartments; that reliability is strongly correlated across adjacent channels; and that interference does not exhibit cyclic behavior at daily or weekly timescales. Nevertheless, reliability can be maintained through a small number of channel hops. Based on these insights, we propose Adaptive and Robust Channel Hopping (ARCH) protocol, a lightweight receiver-oriented protocol which handles the dynamics of residential environments by reactively channel hopping when channel conditions have degraded. We evaluate our approach through a series of simulations based on real data traces as well as a testbed deployment in real-world apartments. Our results demonstrate that ARCH can reduce the number of packet retransmissions by a median of 42.3% compared to using a single, fixed wireless channel, and can enable up to a 2.2 X improvement in delivery rate on the most unreliable links in our experiment. Due to ARCH's lightweight reactive design, this improvement in reliability is achieved with an average of 6 or fewer channel hops per link per day.
Sha, Mo; Hackmann, Greg; and Lu, Chenyang, "Robust Sensor Networks in Homes via Reactive Channel Hopping" Report Number: wucse-2009-75 (2009). All Computer Science and Engineering Research.