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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 4 (2008), Issue 4, Pages 287-314
Original Article

Chain-Type Wireless Sensor Network for Monitoring Long Range Infrastructures: Architecture and Protocols

Wireless Center of Excellence, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, USA

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


We present in this paper an investigation of a special class of wireless sensor networks for monitoring critical infrastructures that may extend for hundreds of miles in distances. Such networks are fundamentally different from traditional sensor networks in that the sensor nodes in this class of networks are deployed along narrowly elongated geographical areas and form a chain-type topology. Based on careful analysis of existing sensor network architectures, we first demonstrate the need to develop new architecture and networking protocols to match the unique topology of chain-type sensor networks. We then propose hierarchical network architecture that consists of clusters of sensor nodes to enable the chain-type sensor networks to be scalable to cover typically long range infrastructures with tolerable delay in network-wide data collection. To maintain energy efficient operations and maximize the lifetime for such a chain-type sensor network, we devise a smart strategy for the deployment of cluster heads. Protocols for network initialization and seamless operations of the chain-type sensor networks are also developed to match the proposed hierarchical architecture and cluster head deployment strategy. Simulations have been carried out to verify the performance of the hierarchical architecture, the smart node deployment strategy, and the corresponding network initialization and operation protocols.