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International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 124786, 11 pages
Research Article

Stair Scheduling for Data Collection in Wireless Sensor Networks

1Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS), Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2NEC Laboratories, Beijing, China

Received 19 August 2012; Accepted 15 January 2013

Academic Editor: Liusheng Huang

Copyright © 2013 Jinbiao Chen 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.


Spatially organized clusters are basic structure for large-scale wireless sensor networks. A cluster is generally composed by a large amount of energy-limited low-tier nodes (LNs), which are managed by a powerful cluster head (CH). The low-tier nodes that are close to the cluster head generally become bottlenecks in data collection applications. Energy efficient scheduling is important for the low-tier sensors to be longevous while guaranteeing reliable communication. In this paper, based on three aspects of performance considerations including network longevity, multihop communication reliability, and sensing system cost minimization, we propose a stair duty-cycle scheduling method for the low-tier sensors. It is designed to make the LNs in the same cluster sleep cooperatively for most of the time and wake up in assigned sequence for multihop communication. Stair scheduling cannot only improve the energy efficiency of the network but also guarantee high communication reliability and low transmission delay. Efficiency of the proposed stair scheduling is verified by analysis and intensive simulations. The results show that the performances of stair scheduling are much better than that of random scheduling algorithms.