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Power Issues and Energy Scavenging in Mobile Wireless Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks

Power Issues and Energy Scavenging in Mobile Wireless Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks
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Author(s): Gianluca Cornetta (Universidad CEU San Pablo, Spain), Abdellah Touhafi (Erasmushogheschool Brussel, Belgium), David J. Santos (Universidad San Pablo-CEU, Spain) and José Manuel Vázquez (Universidad San Pablo-CEU, Spain)
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 27
Source title: Handbook of Research on Mobility and Computing: Evolving Technologies and Ubiquitous Impacts
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Maria Manuela Cruz-Cunha (Polytechnic Institute of Cavado and Ave, Portugal) and Fernando Moreira (Portucalense University, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-042-6.ch061


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Wireless ad-hoc and sensor networks are experiencing a widespread diffusion due to their flexibility and broad range of potential uses. Nowadays they are the underlying core technology of many industrial and remote sensing applications. Such networks rely on battery-operated nodes with a limited lifetime. Although, in the last decade, a significant research effort has been carried out to improve the energy efficiency and the power consumption of the sensor nodes, new power sources have to be considered to improve node lifetime and to guarantee a high network reliability and availability. Energy scavenging is the process by which the energy derived from external sources (i.e. temperature and pressure gradients, movement, solar light, etc.) is captured, translated into an electric charge and stored internally to a node. At the moment, these new power sources are not intended to replace the batteries, since they cannot generate enough energy; however, working together with the conventional power sources they can significantly improve node lifetime. Low-power operation is the result of a complex cross-layer optimization process, for this reason, this chapter thoroughly reviews all the traditional methods aimed at reducing power consumption at the network, MAC and PHY levels of the TCP stack, to understand advantages and limitations of such techniques, and to justify the need of alternative power sources that may allow, in the future, the design of completely self-sustained and autonomous sensor nodes.

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