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Lifetime Optimization in Hierarchical Wireless Sensor Networks

Samy S. Botros
IEEE Student member
Electronics and
Communications Eng.
Department,
Cairo University,
Giza, Egypt
samy_botros@ieee.org

Hany M. ElSayed
IEEE member
Electronics and
Communications Eng.
Department,
Cairo University,
Giza, Egypt
helsayed@ieee.org

Abstract
Wireless sensor networks is a voracious field for
research, especially after the great advances in MEMS
based sensors. In this paper, environmental monitoring
applications are considered where data may be
continuously reported with the possibility of urgent
alarming if necessary. Hierarchical architecture of the
network is assumed in order to overcome the problem of
energy constrained sensors. Two algorithms are
proposed with the purpose of network lifetime elongation
and the maximization of the use of the available energy.
The first algorithm is a modification for LEACH-C to
enhance its performance. It results in a 25% longer
lifetime. The second algorithm is an energy efficient
method to ensure full coverage of the network as long as
sensors are still working. This achieves 32% longer
lifetime than LEACH-C.

1. Introduction
Deployment of large scale as well as small scale
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) has come into wide
use owing to the rapid achievements in MEMS
technologies, wireless communications and digital
electronics [1-3]. WSNs have drawn great interest due to
their wide range of applications including physical
environment monitoring, security surveillance, military
applications and others [4]. An example of the
environmental applications is the detection of toxic gases
in habitable areas and the measurement of their
percentage in air. Due to the limited energy resources of
sensor nodes, designing efficient routing protocols has
been one of the most challenging issues for WSNs [4].
One main concern for WSNs is to make best use of the
network and maximize its lifetime.
A lot of research work has been conducted in routing
protocols [2, 5]. Many energy efficient strategies have
been considered [6, 7]. Hierarchical protocols are
proposed aiming at clustering the nodes so that cluster

978-1-4244-2728-4/09/$25.00 2009 IEEE

Hassanein H.Amer
IEEE member
Electronics Eng.
Department,
American University
in Cairo
Cairo, Egypt
hamer@aucegypt.edu

M.S.El-Soudani
IEEE Senior member
Electronics and
Communications Eng.
Department,
Cairo University,
Giza, Egypt
melsoudani@menanet.net

heads can do some aggregation and reduction of data in


order to save energy [2]. LEACH [8] is a clustering
based protocol that uses randomized rotation of cluster
heads to evenly distribute the energy load among the
sensors in the network. LEACH-C [9] uses a central
control algorithm to form the clusters in order to produce
better clusters. It overcomes some of the drawbacks of
LEACH resulting in better performance in terms of the
number of data items received by the end user of the
network.
This paper proposes a modification in LEACH-C by
optimizing one of the protocol parameters to achieve
longer lifetime for the network. This proves to achieve
more than 25% lifetime elongation in the examples
presented in this paper. Another algorithm is proposed in
order to overcome drawbacks of LEACH-C and to fit a
wider range of applications. This also shows about 32%
lifetime improvement.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section
2 describes the previous work. Section 3 proposes the
first modification to LEACH-C to elongate the network
lifetime. In section 4, further improvement of the
lifetime is discussed. Finally, section 5 concludes the
paper and describes future extensions.

2. Previous work
Energy considerations as well as data routing and
delivery have been some of the important design issues
of WSNs [2].
The energy constrained nature of wireless nodes
requires the use of energy efficient strategies to
maximize the usefulness of the network [6]. These
strategies can be classified into:
Energy efficient routing.
Topology control.
Reducing the volume of information
transferred.
Scheduling the nodes sleeping state.
The best energy efficiency will be obtained by
combining all these strategies [6].

As for data delivery, the routing protocols that have


been proposed can be broadly classified as flat or data
centric protocols and hierarchical or cluster based
protocols [2, 5]. In flat routing protocols, each sensor
determines its parent node(s) to forward data packets.
Nodes are not organized into hierarchical clusters as it is
done in the hierarchical protocols. Most of the flat
routing protocols that have been proposed assume that
nodes maintain estimates of their distances from the
destination nodes [5]. In data centric routing, the sink
sends queries to certain regions and waits for data from
the sensors located in the selected regions [2]. SPIN [10]
was the first data centric protocol, and later Directed
Diffusion [11] has been developed and has become a
breakthrough in data centric routing [2].
The second main category (hierarchical routing
protocols) organizes the network into groups. Each
group selects a node to act as a master node (Cluster
Head, CH) for this group. Each CH collects data from
group members and transmits an aggregate of this data to
the sink. The main assumption is that the sink is
reachable from all the CHs, which becomes needed for
all sensors if CH rotation is permitted [5]. LEACH [8] is
one of the first and most popular hierarchical routing
protocols for sensor networks [2].
The main features of LEACH are localized
coordination and control for cluster set-up and operation,
as well as randomized rotation of the CHs and the
corresponding clusters. The aim of LEACH is to
disperse the energy load between sensor nodes. One
problem of LEACH is that CHs are selected randomly
[12]. Another problem is that clusters may not be divided
equally which increases each sensors energy
consumption [12]. LEACH proved to be more energy
efficient than preceding routing techniques and it
successfully distributes energy usage among the nodes in
the network such that the nodes die randomly [8].
Later, LEACH was modified such that the CHs
selection and the clusters formation algorithm takes into
consideration the energies of the sensors. This
modification necessitated the assumption that each node
has an estimate of the total energy of all nodes in the
network. But this approach did not work well in dynamic
networks [9].
Another modification that was made by the authors in
[9] to guarantee the performance of LEACH was to
develop a central control algorithm to form clusters to
disperse CH nodes throughout the network. This was the
basis for LEACH-C which used a centralized clustering
algorithm and the same steady state protocol as LEACH.
The strong point of LEACH-C is that it can equally
distribute waste of energy between sensors by
positioning the CHs into the centers of clusters [12].
Energy overhead is one of the disadvantages of
LEACH and its centralized version, LEACH-C. This
overhead is consumed in CHs selection, announcement
of these CHs, and clusters formation. Another drawback

is losing full coverage of the network when some sensors


are completely depleted of their energy. This occurs
while other sensors still have some non-zero residual
energy. Attempts to overcome these drawbacks are
presented in the next sections.

3. Optimum number of cycles for network


master (NM)
3.1. Discussion
One of the main aims in wireless sensor networks is
to maximize network lifetime, which can be defined as
[6]:
Definition 1: the time to the first node failure
due to battery outage.
Definition 2: the time to the first network
partitioning.
Definition 3: the time to the unavailability of
application functionality.
In this work, the first definition is considered since it
does not depend on the type of application and it is
suitable for any network architecture, either divided into
groups, clusters or not. This definition is also preferred
since it guarantees that during the whole lifetime of the
network, it is fully covered with active nodes which
collect data from all positions in the network.
The proposed algorithm deals with all sensors as one
network. The cluster head approach is used to manage
the communication with the network. One of the sensors
in the whole area is selected as a master. It is called a
Network Master node to differentiate it from the cluster
head used in LEACH or other algorithms. The Network
Master or NM for the network receives data from the
other sensors in the network. Single hop is assumed for
all sensors in the network. The NM then performs data
aggregation and compression to remove redundancy and
send the useful information to the sink or base station,
also in one hop. This is similar to the idea of LEACH
and LEACH-C and some others, but here it is applied to
the whole network.
It is assumed that all the sensors are aware of their
positions, as assumed in [9], and that the sink knows
these positions. In the absence of mobility, these
locations are fixed throughout the whole lifetime of the
network. The sink has knowledge about the whole
network and is responsible for selecting the NM. It then
informs all other sensors about the current NM. This
removes such an overhead from the sensor nodes.
The algorithm consists of rounds, each starts with the
NM selection by the sink. This node remains as NM for
a fixed number of cycles C, after which a new round
starts. Before the selection of the NM, the energies of
sensors are compared with two thresholds {EnTh and
EnThNM}. The first threshold, EnTh, is the energy required
by each sensor to transmit its data to the farthest possible

NM node for one complete round. This is calculated for


each sensor assuming the worst case that the NM is the
farthest node from this sensor. A sensor that has energy
below this threshold, means that it is no longer active
and cannot perform any useful function. The second
threshold, EnThNM, is the energy required by the sensor to
act as an NM, gathering data from sensors, aggregating
them and sending the resulting packet to the far away
sink. Again, this is the energy needed for one complete
round. It is calculated for each sensor according to its
distance from the sink. A sensor that has energy below
this threshold, cannot act as an NM for the network.
Sensors are classified according to these thresholds
before NM selection into one of three categories:
Active nodes that can act as NMs.
Active nodes but cannot act as NMs.
Inactive nodes or dead nodes.
Once a node is classified as dead node, the network is
considered dead, according to the definition of lifetime
used in this research.
The sink selects a sensor as an NM for the current
round according to the following criteria:
1- The node belongs to the first category.
2- The node has energy greater than the average
energy of all active nodes.
3- The sum of its distances to the active nodes is
minimal.
It is observed that a node can be selected as an NM
for many rounds through the whole network lifetime.
One factor that must be taken into consideration is the
overhead effect of NM selection, which is not clear in
other protocols. The main energy overhead is the
reception of announcements about the NM from the sink.
This energy waste is repeated at the beginning of each
round.
Regarding the number of cycles a node remains a
head per round, as this number decreases, the thresholds
decrease permitting longer lifetime of the sensors, but
energy dissipated in overhead reception of
announcement messages increases. On the other hand,
when this number increases, the energy wasted decreases
at the expense of the increased thresholds and hence the
less useful lifetime of sensors. Hence, there is a tradeoff
between the frequency of master rotation and the
overhead energy dissipation. Simulations with different
values for the number of cycles show that there is an
optimum number of cycles per round that maximizes the
network lifetime.
Using this optimum number of cycles shows that the
network achieves longer lifetime than the corresponding
LEACH-C.
3.2. Simulation and results
A simulation model is built using MatLab [13] with
the same network parameters and description used in [9].
These parameters are listed in Table 1. The network
consists of nodes that are randomly distributed in the

deployment area. Nodes are assumed to have always


data to send to the end user and nodes are located close
to each other to have correlated data. A simple model for
radio hardware energy dissipation is used. In this model
the transmitter dissipates energy to run the radio
electronics and the power amplifier while the receiver
dissipates energy only to run the radio electronics.
Although this model is simplistic, but it is accepted and
used in the literature [9, 14]. The new parameter taken
into consideration is the overhead energy. This overhead
is consumed in receiving the packet from the sink
announcing the NM sensor of the current round. This
announcement packet is considered 25% of the data
packet size. The system is run for different values of the
number of cycles C per round, and the corresponding
network lifetime is calculated.
Table 1. Network and System parameters
Parameter
Network Size
Number of Sensors ( N )
Transmitter / Receiver
Electronics
Transmitter Amplifier
for short distance
for long distance
Pass Loss Factor
for short distance
for long distance
Aggregation Energy
Data Packet Size
Overhead Packet Size

Value
100 m X 100 m
100
Sensors
50
nJ/bit

10
0.0013
2
4
50
500
125

pJ/bit/ m2
pJ/bit/ m4

nJ/bit/Signal
Byte
Byte

Fig. 1 shows that there is an optimum number of


cycles for which each sensor remains acting as NM,
before another round starts over and a new NM is
selected. For the parameters considered, the longest
lifetime is achieved for C=3, resulting in a lifetime
equivalent to 3702 cycles. LEACH-C is simulated with
the same parameters, and without dividing the network
into clusters. Although LEACH-C divides the network
into clusters, but it is assumed here that the network is
considered as one cluster to set the basis for comparison.
This resulted in a lifetime equivalent to 2950 cycles for
C=50. These results are shown in Fig. 2. The figure
shows also the number of alive nodes that can act as
NMs. It is noticed that, for the proposed scheme, most of
the sensors remain capable of acting as NMs for the
whole network lifetime. For LEACH-C, sensors that act
as NM once will not have enough energy to act as NM
again. This minimizes the chance to replace the current
NM with another sensor if it is subject to any
communication difficulties. This is not the situation
when C=3 as it is proposed.

1.4

3750
X: 3
Y: 3702

1.2

3700

R e m a in in g E n e r g y

T o tal L ife tim e in C y c les

3650

3600

3550

3500

0.8

0.6

0.4

3450

0.2

3400

3350
0

10

12

0
0

14

10

20

30

40

Number of Cycles per Round

50

60

70

80

90

100

Sensors

Figure 1. The total network Lifetime to


the death of first node versus the
number of cycles per round assigned
for all sensors the same.

Figure 3. The remaining energy for each


sensor after the network is considered
dead. The number of cycles per round C
is set to 50.

0.8
100

0.7

90

0.6

R e m a in in g E n e r g y

N u m b e r o f A liv e n o d e s

80
70

0.5

60

0.4

50
40
30

0.3

Active Nodes for C = 3

0.2

Active Nodes for C = 50

20
10
0
0

Active Heads for C = 3

0.1

Active Heads for C = 50

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

2950

3702 4000

4500

Total number of Cycles (Time Slots)

0
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Sensors

Figure 2. Sensor Classification

Figure 4. The remaining energy for each


sensor after the network is considered
dead. The number of cycles per round C
is set to 3.

After the first node loses all its energy and the
network loses its full coverage, the remaining energies at
each sensor are calculated and shown in Fig. 3 and Fig. 4
for C=50 and C=3 respectively. The figures show that
for LEACH-C, although many sensors still have large
enough energy, but due to the death of one sensor, the
whole network is considered dead. This means that about
28% of the network energy is not used. On the contrary,
when C=3 is considered, 94% of the sensors have
residual energy less than 3-5% of their initial energy.
The total remaining energy is only 4% of the network

energy. LEACH-C tries to minimize overhead energy of


NM selection by forcing each sensor to be selected as
NM only once. In order to achieve that, the number of
cycles per round must be large (C=50, for the parameters
used). Consequently, some sensors deplete their energies
while others still have a large quantity of energy.
Breaking down this large number of cycles, allows more
rotation for the NM, at the expense of increased energy
overhead. But this cost is payable in order to increase the
useful lifetime of the network.

4. Lifetime improvement
4.1. Discussion
The previous algorithm selected a fixed optimum
number of cycles C per round in order to achieve a
longer lifetime. It is observed that with this relatively
small number of cycles, a sensor is chosen as an NM for
many rounds. It is observed also that not all sensors act
as NMs for the same number of rounds. So, if these
could be gathered together, such that each sensor is
selected as an NM only once, but without exhausting
sensors which require more energy to act as an NM, a
longer lifetime for the network will be achieved.
Another observation in previous techniques is that
after the death of the first node, there is still some
residual energy for some sensors. This residual energy is
not used effectively. One reason is that it is distributed to
all the sensors, and hence, the share of each sensor is not
large enough to work as NM. Another reason is that the
full coverage of the network, which may be a primary
concern in many applications, is lost.
Both observations lead to an algorithm which
requires that each sensor be selected as an NM only
once, and acts as an NM for a certain number of cycles
Ci, which need not be the same for all sensors. The
algorithm also requires the most usage of the available
energies for each sensor.
The algorithm is simply run once at the sink based on
its knowledge of the locations of the different sensors.
The sink can calculate the energy Etx i to NM j required
by each sensor i to transmit its data to any of the other
nodes j acting as an NM, as well as the energy ENM i
needed by the node i" to act as an NM itself. Assuming
that each sensor acts as an NM for a certain number of
cycles Ci, before and after which it acts as an ordinary
node, the energy consumed by any sensor i through the
network lifetime can be calculated as:
Esensor i = Ci * E NM i +

j=N
C j * Etx i to NM j
j =1
ji
for i = 1,2,......, N

i Ci

(2)

If each sensor node i has an initial energy Eo i, it


must be that the energy consumed by any sensor is less
than or equal its initial energy. That is:
Esensor i Eo i

Esensor i = Eo i
for i = 1,2,3,....., N

(3)

(4)

The solution set S = {Ci} indicates that the network


will have maximum lifetime. Any other set, S = {Ci},
will not be a solution for the set of equations. Hence,
there are two possibilities. The first is that the set S
results that Esensor i for any of the sensors will be
greater than Eo i of that sensor. This violates (3) and is
not permitted. The second situation is that the set S
causes Esensor i for any of the sensors to be less than its
Eo i which means that a certain amount of the system
energy is not used, and consequently, the total lifetime
will be less. This means that only the set S, which solves
the equations (4) will achieve the longest lifetime.
It should be noted that the solution of such equations
does not guarantee integer values for the Cis and since
it has no meaning for a sensor to act as a head for a
portion of a cycle, the decimal part of the solution set
must be truncated. It can be shown also that truncation of
all the decimal part is a must and that none of the Cis
can be rounded up. This can be explored as follows.
Assuming that all Cis are rounded down, except
Cm which is rounded up, the energy dissipated by
sensor m can be calculated as:
Esensor m = Cm * E NM m +

j=N

C j * Etx m to NM j

j =1
j m

(5)

For the other sensors;


Esensor i = Ci * E NM i +

j=N

C j * Etx i to NM j

j =1
j i
j m

(1)

Since each sensor will act as a NM only once for Ci


cycles, then the total lifetime, in number of cycles, is the
summation of the different Cis.
T=

In order to make the best use of the available energies


for the sensor, the following set of N equations in N
unknowns, { C1 , C2 , C3 , .., CN }, is solved.

(6)
+ Cm * Etx i to NM m

Although the second term in (5) is less than the


second term of equation (1), but the first term is greater
than the first term of equation (1). But since Etx i to NM j
is about two orders of magnitude less than ENM i, the
total sum of the two terms in (5) will be larger than their
sum in (1). Consequently, the energy required for sensor
m will most likely be larger than Eo m which violates
(3). The same is valid for equation (6), i.e., for some of
the sensors, the condition in (3) will be violated. Hence,
the Cis obtained from solving (4) must be rounded
down, and the total expected network lifetime will be:
T=

i Ci

(7)

4.2. Simulation and results


The simulation environment used before is used for
the new scheme. The solution of the set of equations in
(4) resulted in the set of Cis shown in Fig. 5 after
truncation. It can be observed that the different values of
Ci range between 16 and 46 cycles per round. The
summation of these Cis causes the expected lifetime of
the network to be almost 3900 cycles.
The steady state phase of the algorithm discussed in
the previous section is used here again. Since any
schedule of NMs will give the same performance, an
NM selection phase is not required.
Fig. 6 shows a comparison of the results. It can be
seen that this algorithm achieves about 32% longer
lifetime than LEACH-C and a longer lifetime than using
the optimal number of fixed cycles as well. The rationale
behind this lifetime elongation is the arrangement of
energy dissipation such that no sensor depletes its energy
faster than the other nodes. Also, the energy that was
consumed in the selection of NM, even though it was
dissipated in the sink, is not needed any more. Any
schedule for the sensors acting as NMs will work well
giving the same maximum lifetime. This saves the
energy of NM announcement at the beginning of each
round, which is a large saving if this overhead is
relatively large.

more important observation is that these sensors have


almost energies at the same level. Also the sensors which
have not acted as NMs yet, have approximately the same
energy. This supports the argument of the algorithm,
namely that sensors deplete energies equally and
eventually, die all almost at the same time. This can be
seen in Fig. 8. In this figure, sensors are seen to have all
very low energy, not sufficient to function anymore.
Here, 100% of the sensors have residual energy less than
2.5% of their initial energy, causing the total energy
remaining to be about 2% of the network energy. This
shows clearly the advantages of lifetime improvement in
addition to overhead energy saving.
In addition to the previous advantages of this very
simple idea, it can be also advantageous in suitability to
applications requiring continuous reporting of data, as
well as event driven applications. For the latter, after the
specified expected lifetime, the equations can be resolved taking into consideration the remaining energies
for sensors, instead of Eo i, and so on till the first node
loses all its energy.
It is also suitable for homogeneous as well as
heterogeneous networks, where sensors of different
initial energies Eo i are deployed. Sensors with more
initial energy will be able to act as NMs for a longer
number of cycles.

50
45

Number of Cycles

40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Sensors

Figure 5. The number of cycles "Ci" assigned for each sensor to act as a Network Master.

Fig. 7 shows the residual energies for all the sensors


after 50 rounds (equivalent to 1900 cycles) in which the
first 50 sensors have acted as NMs. It is clear that the
sensors that acted as NMs have less energy. But the

Since this procedure is centralized, all the


calculations are done in the sink which has more energy
as well as more powerful processing capabilities. This
decreases the time of the calculations.

100

Number of Alive nodes

90
80

Death Point of the Network - LEACH-C


C = 50

70
60
50
40

Death Point of the Network - First Modification


C=3
25.5 % Longer Lifetime

30
20

Death Point of the Network - Second Modification


Set of Ci
32.0 % Longer Lifetime

10
0
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

2950

3500

3895

4500

Total number of Cycles (Time Slots)


Figure 6. Number of nodes alive versus the total number of cycles.

1.8

0.18

1.6

0.16

1.4

0.14

R e m a in i n g E n e r g y

0.2

R e s id u a l E n e r g y

1.2
1

0.8
0.6

0.12
0.1
0.08
0.06

0.4

0.04

0.2

0.02

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Sensors

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

Sensors

Figure 7. The residual energy for each


sensor after the first 50 sensors have
acted as NMs for the network.

Figure 8. The remaining energy for each


sensor after the network is considered
dead. Each sensor acts as NM for its
assigned number of cycles.

One more advantage of this method is the possibility


to change the order in which sensors act as NMs at
anytime. This may be required in order to account for
communication difficulties. A nearby interferer to the
current NM may corrupt the data received and sent by
this NM, increasing the probability of packet data drop.
Such case can be dealt with by selecting another

sensor to work as NM. This is done with much small


extra cost and avoids the dissipation of energy in sending
erroneous corrupted data.
Finally, Fig. 9 shows a comparison of LEACH-C
with both proposed ideas in terms of the number of data
signals received at the sink. This is an applicationindependent quantity suitable to determine and compare

quality of different algorithms [9]. The more data


received at the sink, the more accurate its view of the
environment will be [9]. The figure shows that selecting
C=3 in the modification of LEACH-C results in more
data delivery. The second improvement achieves more
data delivery than both.
x 10

References
[1]

[2]

[3]

3.9
C=3
3.8

C = 50
Set of Ci

D a t a S ig n a ls R e c e iv e d

3.7

[4]

3.6
3.5
3.4
3.3

[5]

3.2
3.1

[6]

3
2,950

3500

3,702

3984

Number of Cycles

Figure 9. Total amount of data received


by the sink over the number of cycles.

[7]

5. Conclusion and future work


[8]

Wireless Sensor Networks have an important role in a


wide range of applications. Many hierarchical routing
algorithms were proposed to solve energy problems and
maximize the network lifetime. LEACH-C was one of
the successful protocols to deal with hierarchical
networks. This paper suggested a modification on
LEACH-C, through finding the optimum number of
cycles "C" per round, to be used by sensors acting as
network masters. An algorithm is proposed that does not
involve clustering of the network, but it outperforms its
corresponding version from LEACH-C in terms of
network lifetime. Clustering the network and finding the
optimum number of cycles C per round for this
architecture is currently being investigated.
A second algorithm is proposed that calculates the
optimum number of cycles for each sensor to act as a
network master (NM) such that the sensors eventually
die at the same time, consuming all their energy to
maximize the network lifetime.
Using MatLab, it was demonstrated that both
algorithms achieve longer lifetime and have a higher
ability of coping with communication problems or NM
failures by selecting another node as NM without
significant loss in performance.
Further work will include using a more realistic radio
model. Also, a network simulator tool will be used to
approach real network performance.

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

[13]
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