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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 271860, 12 pages
Research Article

Survey: Discovery in Wireless Sensor Networks

Department of Computer Science, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

Received 16 July 2011; Revised 7 October 2011; Accepted 13 October 2011

Academic Editor: Yuhang Yang

Copyright © 2012 Valerie Galluzzi and Ted Herman. 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.


Neighbor discovery is a component of communication and access protocols for ad hoc networks. Wireless sensor networks often must operate under a more severe low-power regimen than do traditional ad hoc networks, notably by turning off radio for extended periods. Turning off a radio is problematic for neighbor discovery, and a balance is needed between adequate open communication for discovery and silence to conserve power. This paper surveys recent progress on the problems of neighbor discovery for wireless sensor networks. The basic ideas behind these protocols are explained, which include deterministic schedules of waking and sleeping, randomized schedules, and combinatorial methods to ensure discovery.