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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1864847, 14 pages
Review Article

A Survey on Real-Time Communications in Wireless Sensor Networks

1Department of Informatics, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Republic of Korea
2Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chungnam National University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Ki-Il Kim;

Received 3 June 2017; Revised 15 September 2017; Accepted 3 October 2017; Published 31 October 2017

Academic Editor: Paul Honeine

Copyright © 2017 Beom-Su Kim 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.


Generally, various traffic requirements in wireless sensor network are mostly dependent on specific application types, that is, event-driven, continuous, and query-driven types. In these applications, real-time delivery is one of the important research challenges. However, due to harsh networking environment around a node, many researchers usually take different approach from conventional networks. In order to discuss and analyze the advantage or disadvantage of these approaches, some comprehensive survey literatures were published; however they are either out of date or compiled for communication protocols on single layer. Based on this deficiency, in this paper, we present the up-to-date research approaches and discuss the important features related to real-time communications in wireless sensor networks. As for grouping, we categorize the approaches into hard, soft, and firm real-time model. Furthermore, in all these categories, research has been focused on MAC and scheduling and routing according to research area or objective in second level. Finally, the article also suggests potential directions for future research in the field.