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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Interaction of Retransmission, Blacklisting, and Routing Metrics for Reliability in Sensor Network Routing


Unpredictable and heterogeneous links in a wireless sensor network require techniques to avoid low delivery rate and high delivery cost. Three commonly used techniques to help discover high quality paths include (1) link-layer retransmission, (2) blacklisting bad links, and (3) end-to-end routing metrics. Using simulation and testbed experiments, we present the rst systematic exploration of the tradeoffs of combinations of these approaches, quantifying the effects of each of these three techniques. We identify several key results: One is that per-hop retransmissions (ARQ) is a necessary addition to any other mechanism if reliable data delivery is a goal. Additional interactions between the services are more subtle. First, in a multihop network, either blacklisting or reliability metrics like ETX can provide consistent high-reliability paths when added to ARQ. Second, at higher deployment densities, blacklisting has a lower routing overhead than ETX. But at lower densities, blacklisting becomes less stable as the network partitions. These results are consistent across both simulation and testbed experiments. We conclude that ETX with retransmissions is the best choice in general, but that blacklisting may be worth considering at higher densities, either with or without ETX.

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