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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Impact of Radio Link Unreliability on the Connectivity of Wireless Sensor Networks

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20072007:019196

  • Received: 30 October 2006
  • Accepted: 6 April 2007
  • Published:


Many works have been devoted to connectivity of ad hoc networks. This is an important feature for wireless sensor networks (WSNs) to provide the nodes with the capability of communicating with one or several sinks. In most of these works, radio links are assumed ideal, that is, with no transmission errors. To fulfil this assumption, the reception threshold should be high enough to guarantee that radio links have a low transmission error probability. As a consequence, all unreliable links are dismissed. This approach is suboptimal concerning energy consumption because unreliable links should permit to reduce either the transmission power or the number of active nodes. The aim of this paper is to quantify the contribution of unreliable long hops to an increase of the connectivity of WSNs. In our model, each node is assumed to be connected to each other node in a probabilistic manner. Such a network is modeled as a complete random graph, that is, all edges exist. The instantaneous node degree is then defined as the number of simultaneous valid single-hop receptions of the same message, and finally the mean node degree is computed analytically in both AWGN and block-fading channels. We show the impact on connectivity of two MACs and routing parameters. The first one is the energy detection level such as the one used in carrier sense mechanisms. The second one is the reliability threshold used by the routing layer to select stable links only. Both analytic and simulation results show that using opportunistic protocols is challenging.


  • Wireless Sensor Network
  • Random Graph
  • Radio Link
  • Node Degree
  • Active Node


Authors’ Affiliations

ARES INRIA / CITI, INSA-Lyon, Villeurbanne Cedex, 69621, France


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© Jean-Marie Gorce et al. 2007

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.