Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 December 2014
A number of factors have to be considered carefully when implementing network protocols for wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Any routing protocol for WSNs should take into consideration the limited energy resources in the sensor nodes. Moreover, WSNs are distinctive from basic ad-hoc networks with respect to communication channels. Generally, the sink nodes are more concerned with an overall depiction of the environment than with precise readings from their own sensor devices. Hence, the communication in the WSN is known as data-centric rather than address-centric and the data may be collected locally rather than transmitted raw to the sink(s). All of these distinctive features of WSNs play a part in the network layer and thus data routing protocols need to be thought of carefully.
In order to access data, sensors rarely have knowledge of their own locations and these locations can be used for routing functions in the network layer. If a WSN is well connected, the services of the topology control have to be utilized in conjunction with the general routing protocols. To the end of dealing with specific network issues in the routing layer, we find ourselves dealing with a different routing layer from traditional networks.
In this chapter, we will review the major aspects of routing in WSNs, including various types of routing protocols and related advantages, and disadvantages, as well as challenges [1–58].