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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 3 (2007), Issue 1, Pages 119-133
Original Article

Transport Protocols for Wireless Sensor Networks: State-of-the-Art and Future Directions

School of Computer Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA

Copyright © 2007 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.


Characteristics of wireless sensor networks, specifically dense deployment, limited processing power, and limited power supply, provide unique design challenges at the transport layer. Message transmission between sensor nodes over a wireless medium is especially expensive. Care must be taken to design an efficient transport layer protocol that combines reliable message delivery and congestion control with minimal overhead and retransmission. Sensor networks are created using low cost, low power nodes. Wireless sensors are assumed to have a finite lifetime; care must be taken to design and implement transport layer algorithms that allow maximum network lifetime. In this paper we present current and future challenges in the design of transport layers for sensor networks. Current transport layer protocols are compared based on how they implement reliable message delivery, congestion control, and energy efficiency.