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Protocols And cross-layer Techniques To achieve Energy-efficiency in Reconfigurable ad-hoc and sensor Networks - PATTERN
PRIN, 2003-2005

PATTERN proposes an integrated approach to the design of protocol architectures for the support of various applications in the wireless environment, with specific reference to mobile ad hoc networks. Mobile nodes require wireless network access, which is much more difficult to achieve than wired communication because the surrounding environment interacts with the signal, blocking signal paths and introducing noise and echoes. As a result wireless connections usually have a lower quality than wired connections: lower bandwidth, less connection stability, higher error rates, and highly varying quality. These factors can in turn increase communication latency due to retransmissions, can give largely varying throughput, and incur high energy consumption. Key problems that can be identified in mobile ad hoc networks are the need to maintain quality of service (throughput, delay, bit error rate, etc) over time-varying channels, and the need to operate with limited energy resources.

In this project we address these key problems in an integrated way, and in fact plan to exploit the opportunities of cross-layer interactions, as well as the use of heterogeneous networks to achieve an energy-efficient system that operates within the given quality requirements. The approach followed in this project is that of energy efficiency (i.e., doing more work with the same amount of energy), pursued at all levels: energy-efficient system architectures, energy-efficient communication protocols, energy-cognizant operating systems and applications, and a well designed partitioning of functions between wireless device and services on the network.

The project will be divided in two phases. The first phase will have as its main objective the development of algorithms for a communication protocol stack that operate efficiently in a dynamic wireless environment, taking into account Quality of Service (QoS) requirements and energy efficient operation. Focusing on the single protocol layers, we will review the state of the art, examine existing solutions, and produce recommendations for parameter optimization and/or new schemes. The outcome of this phase will be a solid understanding of energy-efficient criteria for protocol and network design.

The second phase will focus on the development of energy efficient strategies by taking an integrated view of the problem. By completion of the project, we will have designed adequate architectural concepts, models and methods to minimize the energy consumption at system-wide level in a dynamic and heterogeneous wireless environment, within given Quality of Service constraints. This will be realized both by looking at joint optimisation opportunities and synergies among protocols at different layers, and by taking an integrated view of the communications system rather than simply focusing on small parts of it. In particular, cross-layer optimization will be actively researched.

In order to provide a common reference environment in which various solutions can be compared and integrated, we will select a case study within the area of ad hoc networking. This case study will serve as a means to show the effectiveness of the criteria and schemes produced within the project, and will be specified in detail at an early stage during the project.

The expected results will include: evaluation of energy breakdown by function in network nodes, single-layer parameter optimizations, analytical and simulation techniques for single- and cross-layer studies and optimizations, recommendations for energy efficient network architecture and protocol design in ad hoc networking. All these results will have the form of written reports to be submitted for publication in international journals and conferences. In order to foster dissemination of the results, maintenance of an up-to-date project web site is also envisioned, as well as the organization of a final open workshop.

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