Achieving Efficient Reliable Flooding in Low-Duty-Cycle Wireless Sensor Networks

Long Cheng, Jianwei Niu, Yu Gu, Chengwen Luo, Tian He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Reliable flooding in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is desirable for a broad range of applications and network operations. However, relatively little work has been done for reliable flooding in low-duty-cycle WSNs with unreliable wireless links. It is a challenging problem to efficiently ensure 100% flooding coverage considering the combined effects of low-duty-cycle operation and unreliable wireless transmission. In this paper, we propose a novel dynamic switching-based reliable flooding (DSRF) framework, which is designed as an enhancement layer to provide efficient and reliable delivery for a variety of existing flooding tree structures in low-duty-cycle WSNs. The key novelty of DSRF lies in the dynamic switching decision making when encountering a transmission failure, where a flooding tree structure is dynamically adjusted based on the packet reception results for energy saving and delay reduction. DSRF distinguishes itself from the existing works in that it explores both poor links and good links on demand. In addition, we define the optimal wakeup schedule-ranking problem in order to maximize the switching gain in DSRF. We prove the NP-completeness of this problem and present a heuristic algorithm with a low computational complexity. Through comprehensive performance comparisons, including the simulation of large-scale scenarios and small-scale experiments on a WSN testbed, we demonstrate that compared with the flooding protocol without DSRF enhancement, the DSRF effectively reduces the flooding delay and the total number of packet transmission by ∼ and ∼ , respectively. Remarkably, the achieved performance is close to the theoretical lower bound.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7463029
Pages (from-to)3676-3689
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Wireless sensor networks
  • dynamic switching
  • low-duty-cycle
  • reliable flooding

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