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Using Potential to Guide Mobile Nodes in Wireless Sensor Networks
Min Xi, Yong Qi, Kui Wu, Jizhong Zhao and Mo Li

Wireless sensor networks have become a promising technology in monitoring physical world. In many applications with wireless sensor networks, it is essential to understand how well an interested area is monitored (covered) by sensors. The traditional way of evaluating sensor coverage requires that every point in the field should be monitored and the sensor network should be connected to transmit messages to a processing center (sink). Such a requirement is too strong to be financially practical in many scenarios. In this study, we address another type of coverage problem, sweep coverage, where we utilize mobile nodes to help data retrieval in a sensor network. Different from previous coverage problems, we focus on retrieving data from dynamic Points of Interest (POIs), where a sensor network does not necessarily have fixed data rendezvous points as POIs. Instead, any sensor node within the network may become a POI. We first analyze the relationship among information access delay, information access probability, and the number of required mobile nodes. We then design a distributed algorithm based on a virtual 3D map of local gradient information to guide the movement of mobile nodes to achieve sweep coverage of dynamic POIs. Using the analytical results as the guideline for setting the system parameters, we examine the performance of our algorithm compared to existing approaches.

Keywords: Wireless Sensor Network; Sweep Coverage; Potential

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