A down-to-earth case for autonomy in massively plural sensor systems

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The role of autonomy in wireless sensor networks remains something of a controversial issue. Although most of the early work in the field, and the subsequent research agenda, has implicitly assumed the use of autonomous sensor nodes, few if any of the practical implementations that have followed have featured autonomy at node level. Systems deployed so far have been relatively small, and their operation posed few problems which require autonomy. At this scale, “planned”, non-autonomous systems are seen to be highly successful, so much so that the largest operation WSN so far achieved was designed using similar principles. Nonetheless, as the largest networks grow from having thousands of nodes to having millions of nodes, such planned architectures will be less feasible. Instead, individual nodes will need far greater autonomy and must become self-configuring, self-maintaining, and self-optimising. This work concludes by summarising some of the basic services needed for such nodes.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 3, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 3
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 49 - 52
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topics: MEMS & NEMS Devices, Modeling & Applications
ISBN: 1-4200-6184-4