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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2016, Article ID 9857568, 12 pages
Review Article

A Review of the Topologies Used in Smart Water Meter Networks: A Wireless Sensor Network Application

1Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
2College of Computer, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Nanjing 210003, China
3Jiangsu High Technology Research Key Laboratory for Wireless Sensor Networks, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 210003, China
4Key Lab of Broadband Wireless Communication and Sensor Network Technology of Ministry of Education, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Nanjing 210003, China

Received 5 June 2016; Revised 13 September 2016; Accepted 28 September 2016

Academic Editor: Carlos Ruiz

Copyright © 2016 Jaco Marais 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.


This paper presents several proposed and existing smart utility meter systems as well as their communication networks to identify the challenges of creating scalable smart water meter networks. Network simulations are performed on 3 network topologies (star, tree, and mesh) to determine their suitability for smart water meter networks. The simulations found that once a number of nodes threshold is exceeded the network’s delay increases dramatically regardless of implemented topology. This threshold is at a relatively low number of nodes (50) and the use of network topologies such as tree or mesh helps alleviate this problem and results in lower network delays. Further simulations found that the successful transmission of application layer packets in a 70-end node tree network can be improved by 212% when end nodes only transmit data to their nearest router node. The relationship between packet success rate and different packet sizes was also investigated and reducing the packet size with a factor of 16 resulted in either 156% or 300% increases in the amount of successfully received packets depending on the network setup.