Modeling the Behavior of an Electronically Switchable Directional Antenna for Wireless Sensor Networks

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för ingenjörsvetenskap


Reducing power consumption is among the top concerns in Wireless Sensor Networks, as the lifetime of a Wireless Sensor Network depends on its power consumption. Directional antennas help achieve this goal contrary to the commonly used omnidirectional antennas that radiate electromagnetic power equally in all directions, by concentrating the radiated electromagnetic power only in particular directions. This enables increased communication range at no additional energy cost and reduces contention on the wireless medium. The SPIDA (SICS Parasitic Interference Directional Antenna) prototype is one of the few real-world prototypes of electronically switchable directional antennas for Wireless Sensor Networks. However, building several prototypes of SPIDA and conducting real-world experiments using them may be expensive and impractical. Modeling SPIDA based on real-world experiments avoids the expenses incurred by enabling simulation of large networks equipped with SPIDA. Such a model would then allow researchers to develop new algorithms and protocols that take advantage of the provided directional communication on existing Wireless Sensor Network simulators. In this thesis, a model of SPIDA for Wireless Sensor Networks is built based on thoroughly designed real-world experiments. The thesis builds a probabilistic model that accounts for variations in measurements, imperfections in the prototype construction, and fluctuations in experimental settings that affect the values of the measured metrics. The model can be integrated into existing Wireless Sensor Network simulators to foster the research of new algorithms and protocols that take advantage of directional communication. The model returns the values of signal strength and packet reception rate from a node equipped with SPIDA at a certain point in space given the two-dimensional distance coordinates of the point and the configuration of SPIDA as inputs.

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