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A Data Delivery Mechanism to Support Mobile

Users in Wireless Sensor Networks

Euisin Lee, Younghwan Choi, Soochang Park, Donghun Lee, and Sang-Ha Kim
Department of Computer Engineering
Chungnam National University
220 Gung-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305 764, Republic of Korea
Emails: {eslee, yhchoi, winter, dhlee} and

Abstract— Wireless sensor networks traditionally consist of infrastructure networks except sensor networks are more
sensors perceiving data and sinks gathering the data. In addition, actually. Because, infrastructure networks in these
users receive required information from the sinks via applications cannot be used because they are damaged as a
infrastructure networks. The users, however, should receive the result of the war or the disaster. Hence an assumption that a
information from the sinks through multi hop communications user and a sink can directly communicate through internet has
of disseminated sensor nodes if such users move into the sensor
networks without infrastructure networks. Unlikely, the
a problem that is not actually. Therefore communication
previous works only considered mobility of sinks, which function between the user and the sink inside sensor fields is supported
users. Nevertheless, it is difficult for such approaches about by only sensor nodes.
mobility to exploit the existing data-centric routing algorithms Second form is same with figure 3. It identifies a user with a
and also for the mobile sinks to function as gateways to connect sink. So it supports a mobility of the user by reflecting
with infrastructure. To improve the shortcomings, we suggest a movement of the user with the direct movement of the sink
novel viewpoint of mobility for wireless sensor networks and [5~9]. But, researches for this form have also various
propose a novel architecture and mechanism to support the problems. First of all, they cannot use existing effective data
mobility with multiple static sinks in this paper. The multiple collection algorithms [2][3][4] between a sink and sensor
static sinks, which are connected with each other via
nodes based on data in static sink sensor networks. Because,
infrastructure, provide high throughput and low latency.
Furthermore, they improve hotspot problems and prolong such algorithms can hardly be exploited due to location change
network lifetime. The proposed mechanism finally is evaluated of sink which collects data if sinks in sensor networks have
by simulation results about throughput, latency, and network

Index Terms— wireless sensor networks, mobility, users, and

multiple static sinks

1. Introduction

Wireless sensor networks traditionally consist of sensors

perceiving data and sinks gathering the data. In addition,
users receive required information from the sinks via
infrastructure networks. A mobility model in wireless sensor
networks, mentioned above, can classify according to each Figure 1. Typical wireless sensor networks model
objects. Namely, it is a mobility of sensor node, a mobility of
a sink, and a mobility of a user. Hence, deciding a mobility of
what kind of object for sensor networks that suits sensor
networks according to various applications is important.
Recently, applications transmitting data to moving users
inside sensor fields such as rescue in disaster area or
maneuver in the war zone are on the rise in large-scale sensor
networks [5]. But, until now, such researches support a
mobility of user by only two forms for these applications.
First form is same with figure 2. It supports a mobility of a
user on the assumption that the user communicates directly
sinks through infrastructure networks, namely, internet like
communication systems in traditional sensor networks [1]. Figure 2. A model to support Figure 3. Mobile sink model
But, in applications such as rescues in disaster area or mobility of user through infra
maneuvers in the war zone, circumstances without structure networks, namely,
internet & satellite.

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mobility. They have also a defect which is hard to make full near the sink [15]. As a result, the lifetime of the sensor
use of gateway between sensor networks and Internet. The networks will be able to increase because the balanced energy
other problem is that the cost of the overhead to reorganize consumption of sensor nodes is possible.
network topology and reconstruct dissemination paths from We verified through simulation that the lifetime of sensor
sensor nodes to the mobile sink is expensive. Sink mobility networks is prolonged because a use of multiple static sinks
causes topology reconstruction in case of the network decreases an energy consumption of sensor nodes. Also, we
topology where the sink participates in network construction. verified that a performance about the data delivery ratio and
Also, although the sink doesn’t join in network topology the delay never falls nevertheless a communication between
construction, there could be control overhead for regenerating the user and the sink for guaranteeing movement of the user is
data dissemination paths to new sink location. It is enormous supported by only sensor nodes without infrastructure
overheads to sensor nodes with the constrained energy. networks, namely, internet(not understand).
Hence, we propose a novel communication model of The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In Section 2,
collecting data through sensor node using static sink and we present mobility of sensor networks. Section 3 describes a
delivering the data to a moving user within sensor fields and a proposal mechanism. Simulation results are presented in
novel mechanism to support mobility of users. But, one static Section 4 to evaluate the effectiveness of our design and
sink is a problem that when the user is a long distance, the data analyze the impact of important parameters. Section 5
isn’t effectively transmitted because a communication concludes the paper.
between the user and the sink must communicate through
multiple hops of sensor nodes. Also it is a hot spot problem 2. Mobility of Sensor Networks
which is carried a disproportionate amount of traffic to sensor
nodes near the sink Wireless sensor networks typically consist of the three
Accordingly, we will solve the problems of a single static objects as shown in Figure 1: user, sink, and sensor node [1].
sink using multiple static sinks as shown in Figure 4. And we Depending on the application, wireless sensor networks can be
will support the ultimate goal of this paper, namely, a mobility classified by considering the motion of the objects. We believe
of a user. that each of the following requires different communication
In our proposed mechanism of this paper, if a user intends architectures and mechanisms.
to obtain information on moving, the user disseminates
interest to the nearest sink via a sensor network. The sink, A. Mobility of sensor node
received interest from the user, collects information from Sinks collecting data and users using information of
sensor nodes using the existing data collection algorithm in collected data are static, whereas sensor nodes can move
static sink sensor networks [2][3][4]. The sink shares the inside sensor fields. Consider, for example, a scenario
information with every sinks through infrastructure networks. involving a hazardous materials leak in an urban environment.
The user requests the shared information to the nearest sink Metaphorically speaking, we would like to throw a ‘bucket’ of
according to a location of the user and receives the shared sensor nodes into a building through a window or doorway.
information from the sink. The nodes are equipped with chemical sensors that allow them
A proposed mechanism can obtain various advantages with to detect the relevant hazardous material, and deploy
multiple static sinks. First of all, a user selects a nearest sink to themselves throughout the building in such a way that they
its position regardless of location. Therefore short hops maximize the area ‘covered’ by these sensors. Data from the
communications between a user and a sink are possible. So, it nodes are transmitted to a base station located safely outside
saves energy and enhances data delivery ratio, and reduces the building, where they are assembled to form a live map
delay. Also, because a user requires a dissemination of showing the concentration of hazardous compounds within the
interests through multiple static sinks, locations of data building.
collection are diverse. It solves a hot spot problem which is
carried a disproportionate amount of traffic to sensor nodes B. Mobility of sink
Sensor nodes deployed inside sensor fields and users using
information is static, whereas sinks collecting data can move
inside sensor fields. For example, consider the example of
habitat monitoring in which a team of life scientists are riding
in a vehicle to track an animal. Here the vehicle has to follow
the movement of the animal to track it. The vehicle can be
equipped with a powerful sink (making it a mobile sink) to
collect the data from the sensor nodes along the track of the

C. Mobility of user
In this case, sensor nodes deployed inside sensor fields and
Figure 4. A Novel Communication Model of sinks collecting data from sensor nodes is static, whereas users
Wireless Sensor Networks using information of collected data can move. For example,
consider operations in the war zone. The headquarters located

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Figure 5. Dissemination of sink announcement Figure 6. Mobility support of the user Figure 7. Information propagation of the sink

in the outskirts of the war zone deploy sensor nodes in the war flooding a sink announcement message, every sensor nodes
zone and collect locations and movements of enemies from have known hop counts and next hop neighbor sensor node to
sensor nodes. Through collected data, the headquarters each sink. And every sensor nodes have known the nearest
elaborate a plan of operations and delivery the operations to sink from location of themselves through hop counts to each
soldiers in the war zone. Then, soldiers carry out the sink.
operations and by extension, will collect directly data from
sensor nodes to obtain the latest information. C. Interest dissemination of the user
While moving inside the sensor fields, if a user wants to
3. Description of Mechanism collect a data from sensor fields, the user selects the nearest
sensor node from location of itself as first agent. And the user
A. Overview of Mechanism delivers an interest to the first agent. The first agent which is
In our mechanism, if a user intends to obtain information on delivered the interest from user forwards the interest to a next
moving inside sensor networks, the user disseminates interest hop neighbor node toward the nearest sink. The next hop
to the nearest sink via sensor nodes, and then the user receives sensor node which is delivered the interest also forwards a
results of interest from the sink. Also, if the nearest sink of the next hop neighbor node toward the nearest sink. This process
user changes the user requests the results to new the nearest is continued until the sink. So, the sink receives the interest of
sink and receives the results from the new sink. the user. Also, a back route from the sink to the user for the
This paper makes the following assumptions: interest has established through this process.
• A user can communicate multiple static sinks through
D. Data collection of the sink
only sensor nodes, because networks within sensor fields
Sensor networks with a static sink are a network that
are without infrastructure networks.
sensing data from sensor nodes should be transmitted to the
• Multiple static sinks are deployed in an arbitrary static sink through multi-hop communication. Routing
position in the outskirts of sensor fields connected with algorithms to collect data in sensor networks with a static sink
infrastructure networks as internet. are used in scenario of various types, for example, a scenario
• Multiple static sinks can directly communicate other generating data by periods, a scenario generating a minority
sinks via infrastructure networks. event, and a scenario detecting a moving object, etc.
• The data which one sink collects is aggregated by the Hence, a user will can select and use the most appropriate
sink. All sinks share the aggregated data via infrastructure routing algorithm with static sink according to a scenario.
networks. Such research was advanced already plentifully [2][3][4]. So
To implement the proposed mechanism, we need to address we will not mention anymore in this paper. Therefore, we use
the following phases: dissemination of sink announcement one in the existing routing algorithm as the routing algorithm
message, interest dissemination of user, data collection of sink, to collect data in this paper.
information sharing of multiple static sinks, mobility support
of user, and information propagation of sink. We detail each E. Information sharing of multiple static sinks
phase to next section. As shown in Fig. 1, a sink in typical sensor networks takes
charge of the function as gateways for connection with
B. Dissemination of sink announcement message infrastructure networks [1]. And various papers in relation to
To the initial stage of sensor network, if a sink is located in multiple static sinks also indicate the connection between a
an arbitrary position in the outskirts of sensor fields which is sink and an infrastructure network and the connection between
connected with infrastructure networks as internet it has all sinks as an assumption [10 - 13]. Therefore, in this paper, it
flooded a sink announcement message to announce itself is a sufficient propriety that all sinks placed in the edge of a
inside the whole sensor fields like figure 5. As a result of sensor field can communicate with the other sinks via

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Figure 8. Network lifetime for the number of sink and sensor node Figure 9. Residual energy for the number of sink

infrastructure networks. Hence, in proposed mechanism, a In this section, we evaluate the performance of a proposed
sink which is delivered an interest from a user collects data mechanism through simulations. We first describe our
from sensor fields and aggregates the collected data. Next, the simulation model and simulation metrics. We next evaluate
sink will share aggregated information with the other sinks how environment factors and control parameters affect the
through infrastructure networks. performance of a proposed mechanism.

F. Mobility support of the user A. Simulation Model and Metrics

The user may move to other place after sending interest to We implement the proposed mechanism in the Qualnet
sink by agent. In this case, the user selects another agent and ver.3.8 [14]. A sensor node’s transmitting and receiving power
creates a new connection from the original agent to new consumption rate are 0.66W and 0.39W respectively. The
selected agent. The user can receive the aggregated transceiver in the simulation has a 200m radio range. Each
information from sink through this connection. Thus, mobility interest packet is 36 bytes long and the data packet has 64
of the user is guaranteed. bytes. The sensor network consists of 50 sensor nodes, which
The user can obtain the information of neighbor nodes in are uniformly deployed in a 1000m x 1000m field.
radio range of the first agent by reply message received from The multiple static sinks are located in the outskirts of
the first agent. If the user moves out of RF range of the first sensor fields. The number of user is one. And the default speed
agent, then the user will retransmit the agent selection message of user is set to 10 m/sec. the user disseminates an interest at an
with same RF range of the agent. All sensor nodes which have interval of 10 second. Every sensor nodes receive the interest
received this message send a reply message which contains the and generate only one sensing data for the interest. This is
information of neighbor node in their radio range to the user. defined as one interest round. Namely, one interest round is 10
As shown in Figure 6, the user checks whether there is sensor second. The simulation lasts for 500 seconds.
nodes which are a neighbor node both in RF range of first We use for metrics to evaluate the performance of the
agent and in RF range of the sensor node sent the reply proposed mechanism. The network lifetime is defined as the
messages. Among the sensor nodes which have the connection number of the interest round first sensor node die. The
node in their radio range, the user selects the nearest sensor residual energy is defined as the residual energy of sensor
node from user as second agent. The user settles this selected nodes at time, namely, the interest round that first sensor node
sensor node as second agent and informs the connection nodes die. The data delivery ratio is the ratio of the number of
between the first agent and the second agent to the second successfully received reports at a user to the total number of
agent. Second agent creates the connection to the first agent reports generated by every sensor node. The delay is defined
through the connection node informed by user. By this way, as the average time between the time a sensor node transmits a
the path from the first agent to the user can be created report and the time a user receives the report.
according to movement of user. We compare a static sink model without a mobile user to a
multiple static sinks model with a mobile user in the
G. Information propagation of the sink simulation. We express a direct communication model
A sink delivers the aggregated information of the collected between the user and the sink as ‘sink 1 and not user’ and a
data to first agent through the connected path. The first agent user movement model as ‘sink 1 and user 1’ according to the
delivers the aggregated information to last agent through the number of sink in figures of performance evaluation. Here ‘1’
connection of agents. Last agent deliveries the aggregated is case that sink is one. If the number of sink changes, this
information to the user. numerical value reflects in figures of performance evaluation.
As shown in figure 7, if the nearest sink from the user
changes, the user requests the information to the new nearest B. Impact of the number of multiple static sinks
sink and receives the information from the new nearest sink. We first study the impact of the number of sinks on the
proposed mechanism’s performance. The number of sinks
4. Performance Evaluation varies from 1, 2, 3, to 4. And the number of sensor nodes
varies from 50, 100, 150, to 200. Sinks have a maximum speed

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Figure 11. Delay for the number of sink and sensor node Figure 12. Data delivery ratio for user speed

Figure 12. Data delivery ratio for user speed Figure 13. Delay for user speed

of 10mm/s. In this part, we compare one static sink without the varies from 50, 100, 150, to 200. As shown in Figure 8, 10, and
user to multiple static sinks with the user. 11, the proposed mechanism never falls a performance
Figure 8 shows the number of interest round, namely, nevertheless the number of sensor node increase.
network lifetime. One static sink model without a mobile user
is of small number due to hotspot problem of sensor nodes D. Impact of the user’ mobility
near the sink. But, the number of interest round of multiple We last evaluate the impact of the user’s moving speed on
static sinks model with mobile user is higher than the number the proposed mechanism. In the default simulation setting, we
of interest round of one static sink sensor network even though vary maximum speed of a user from 6, 8, 10, 12, to 20m/s. In
the sinks are more than 3. Network lifetime, namely, interest this part, we compare a network model of one static sink
round, prolonged because energy consumption of sensor without the user to a network model of four static sinks with
nodes became evenly. Figure 9 shows the residual energy at the user. Figure 12 shows data delivery ratio when the user’
time that first sensor node dies in simulation circumstances of moving speed changes. Because the static sink model without
50 sensor nodes As shown in Figure 9, the energy the user is not user, it indicates the same result independent of
consumption of sensor nodes become more evenly because it the user’s moving speed. While the multiple static sinks model
solves hotspot problem due to addition of sink. Figure 10 with the user decrease according to increment of the user’s
shows the data delivery ratio. A model with mobile user is moving speed. But the data delivery ratio remains around 0.9 –
lower than a model without user because it must delivery 1.0 nevertheless the user move faster. Figure 13 shows the
information from sink to user. But, the hop count between sink delay about data delivery, which increases only slightly as the
and user decreases due to addition of sink because data fails user moves faster, because it increases the number of agent
reduce. Therefore the data delivery ratio of a model with from the sink to the user. Figure 13 shows that the network
mobile user approaches a model without user. Figure 11 shows lifetime decreases as the user’ moving speed increases. The
the delay. The delay of a model with mobile user is longer than faster a user moves, the more a user needs the number of agent
the delay of a model without user because it must delivery for connection between the user and the sink.
information from sink to user. Therefore the data delivery ratio
of a model with mobile user also approaches a model without 5. Conclusion
In this paper, we propose a novel sensor network model and
C. Impact of the number of sensor nodes a novel mechanism to support mobility of users in wireless
We next evaluate the impact of the number of sensor nodes sensor networks based on multiple static sinks In proposed
on the proposed mechanism. The number of sensor nodes network model, because multiple static sinks can

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communicate with the other sinks as short hop via
infrastructure networks, the user receives the information with
higher data delivery ratio and faster time. And the lifetime of
the sensor networks increase because the balance energy
consumption of sensor nodes is possible.
We verified that the lifetime of sensor networks is
prolonged because a use of multiple static sinks decreases a
consumption of sensor nodes. Also, we verified that a
performance about the data delivery ratio and the delay never
falls nevertheless a communication between the user and the
sink for guaranteeing movement of the user is supported by
only sensor nodes without infrastructure networks, namely,

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