Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Symeon Papavassiliou

Second Advisor

Nirwan Ansari

Third Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Fourth Advisor

Edwin Hou

Fifth Advisor

Ying Tang


With their focus on applications requiring tight coupling with the physical world, as opposed to the personal communication focus of conventional wireless networks, wireless sensor networks pose significantly different design, implementation and deployment challenges. Wireless sensor networks can be used for environmental parameter monitoring, boundary surveillance, target detection and classification, and the facilitation of the decision making process. Multiple sensors provide better monitoring capabilities about parameters that present both spatial and temporal variances, and can deliver valuable inferences about the physical world to the end user.

In this dissertation, the problem of the energy efficient organization and modeling of dynamic wireless sensor networks is investigated and analyzed. First, a connectivity distribution model that characterizes the corresponding sensor connectivity distribution for a multi-hop sensor networking system is introduced. Based on this model, the impact of node connectivity on system reliability is analyzed, and several tradeoffs among various sleeping strategies, node connectivity and power consumption, are evaluated. Motivated by the commonality encountered in the mobile sensor wireless networks, their self-organizing and random nature, and some concepts developed by the continuum theory, a model is introduced that gives a more realistic description of the various processes and their effects on a large-scale topology as the mobile wireless sensor network evolves. Furthermore, the issue of developing an energy-efficient organization and operation of a randomly deployed multi-hop sensor network, by extending the lifetime of the communication critical nodes and as a result the overall network's operation, is considered and studied.

Based on the data-centric characteristic of wireless sensor networks, an efficient Quality of Service (QoS)-constrained data aggregation and processing approach for distributed wireless sensor networks is investigated and analyzed. One of the key features of the proposed approach is that the task QoS requirements are taken into account to determine when and where to perform the aggregation in a distributed fashion, based on the availability of local only information. Data aggregation is performed on the fly at intermediate sensor nodes, while at the same time the end-to-end latency constraints are satisfied. An analytical model to represent the data aggregation and report delivery process in sensor networks, with specific delivery quality requirements in terms of the achievable end-to-end delay and the successful report delivery probability, is also presented. Based on this model, some insights about the impact on the achievable system performance, of the various designs parameters and the tradeoffs involved in the process of data aggregation and the proposed strategy, are gained. Furthermore, a localized adaptive data collection algorithm performed at the source nodes is developed that balances the design tradeoffs of delay, measurement accuracy and buffer overflow, for given QoS requirements. The performance of the proposed approach is analyzed and evaluated, through modeling and simulation, under different data aggregation scenarios and traffic loads. The impact of several design parameters and tradeoffs on various critical network and application related performance metrics, such as energy efficiency, network lifetime, end-to-end latency, and data loss are also evaluated and discussed.