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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 826702, 17 pages
Research Article

Exploiting the Burstiness of Intermediate-Quality Wireless Links

1Communication and Distributed Systems (ComSys), Informatik 4, RWTH Aachen University, Ahornstraße 55, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2School of Electrical Engineering, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden

Received 8 September 2011; Revised 16 December 2011; Accepted 19 December 2011

Academic Editor: George P. Efthymoglou

Copyright © 2012 Muhammad Hamad Alizai et al. 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 address the challenge of link estimation and routing over highly dynamic links, thats is, bursty links that rapidly shift between reliable and unreliable periods of transmissions. Based on significant empirical evidence of over 100,000 transmissions over each link in 802.15.4 and 802.11 testbeds, we propose two metrics, expected future transmissions (EFT) and MAC3, for runtime estimation of bursty wireless links. We introduce a bursty link estimator (BLE) that based on these two metrics, accurately estimates bursty links in the network rendering them available for data transmissions. Finally, we present bursty routing extensions (BRE): an adaptive routing strategy that uses BLE for forwarding packets over bursty links if they offer better routing progress than long-term stable links. Our evaluation, comprising experimental data from widely used IEEE 802.15.4-based testbeds, reveals an average of 19% and a maximum of 42% reduction in the number of transmissions when routing over long-range bursty links typically ignored by routing protocols. Additionally, we show that both BLE and BRE are not tied to any specific routing protocol and integrate seamlessly with existing routing protocols and link estimators.