In Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), clustering techniques are often used to optimize energy consumption and increase Packet Delivery Rate (PDR). To date, most of the proposed clustering protocols assume that there is a Line of Sight (LOS) between all the sensors. In fact, most of the available WSN simulators assume the use of optimistic path loss models that neglect the effect of obstacles on the PDR. However, in real situations such as in 3D terrains, obstacles can interfere this LOS. Moreover, while clustering, it is also important to maintain the coverage of a given Region of Interest (ROI). Therefore, finding an integrated solution for both clustering and coverage problems in an irregular 3D field becomes a pressing concern. In this paper, we first adopt an obstacle-aware path loss model to reflect the effect of obstacles on the communication between any pair of sensors. To that end, the Castalia simulator is adapted to use this proposed path loss model. Then, we introduce a Coverage and Obstacle-Aware Cluster Head Selection (COACHS) protocol to solve the cluster heads selection problem while maintaining a good coverage of a WSN deployed in an irregular 3D field. Simulation results demonstrate that the effect of obstacles on the PDR cannot be neglected. Moreover, comparative evaluation results show that COACHS outperforms other competent protocols in terms of PDR while simultaneously maintaining an acceptable energy consumption and a good coverage of the ROI.

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Computer Communications
School of Information Technology

Zhang, D. (Decheng), Shi, W, Elhabyan, R. (R.), & St-Hilaire, M. (2019). A coverage and obstacle-aware clustering protocol for wireless sensor networks in 3D terrain. Computer Communications, 146, 48–54. doi:10.1016/j.comcom.2019.07.011