Wireless Sensor Network


1 Wireless Sensor Network

In this chapter, wireless sensor network (WSN) principles are being shortly introduced and discussed. In order to increase the level of understanding for analyzing Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) systems it is useful to study the technology behind them – the technologies which are presented in this section.

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are distributed and independent sensors that are connected and worked together to measure quantities such as temperature, humidity, pressure, noise levels or vibrations [5]. WSNs can measure vehicular movement (velocity, location, etc.) and monitor conditions such as lightning condition, soil makeup and motion [5]. Nowadays, WSNs are utilized in many common applications such as vehicle applications. Some of vehicle applications are: vehicle tracking and detection, tire pressure monitoring, vehicle speed detection, vehicle direction indicator, traffic control, reversing aid sensors etc. Such applications can be divided in major categories such as safety, security, environment and logistics.

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To implement WSN in an application and have an efficient system, first we need to consider about WSN technology, components and communication topology and protocols. Therefore, first, in this chapter, basic information about WSN components, the communication devices and process unit of WSN will be described. Then, the chapter will be followed by a description of the WSN topologies and protocols emphasizing on mesh WSN technology with ZigBee Protocol.

1.1 Wireless Sensor Network component

To provide comprehensive view of WSN hardware, understanding of WSN components’ structure is required. Wireless sensors are small microcontrollers equipped with wireless communication device and an energy supplier. The architecture of WSNs is illustrated in Figure 3‑1 .

As Figure 3‑1 shows the components of WSNs are sensing unit, processing unit, power supplier and communication device. The sensing unit consists of sensors and Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs). ADCs are responsible for gathering the signals and converting them into digital signals data and transfer them through each other using network topology to the processor unit. In the sensing unit, each sensor is called an ‘end node’ and varies in size and cost. The mission of these multifunction sensor nodes are to sense, process data and collaborate with other nodes [8]. Wireless sensor network can be positioned in two ways, either using a complex technique with the large sensors far from the object or using several sensors with an engineered design on position and topology [5]. In addition, each node provided with a wireless communication transceiver as a communication component.

In the process unit, the controller and small memory storage are responsible for managing the collaboration within the sensors to achieve the assigning task. In addition, the communication device with a transceiver makes the network connection. Above all, the essential component of WSN is the power unit, which supports the power for all units [5].

One of the unique characteristics of sensor networks is that they are equipped with an on-board processor. This feature enables them to locally process some simple computations and broadcast only necessary processed data [5]. Network communication is really complicated and needs years of study [8], but to be able to implement WSN, we need to know some basic primary concepts of communication technology such as; network topologies, network protocol and their standards and specifications.

1.2 Communication technology

To cover technical aspects of WSN, network topology and network protocol studying is needed. This study will help to provide information about reliability, robustness, security and stability and of WSN’s software aspect to answer the research questions RQ. 1 ,RQ. 2 and RQ. 3 .

1.2.1 Topologies in WSN Communication

In network communication, the big issue is how data transfers through nodes and nodes interconnect with each other. Several basic network topologies may be used for transmitting to and receiving from a node. The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) – the standards organization of telecommunication industry – explained the network topology as “The physical, real, logical or virtual arrangement of the nods/elements of a network” [9]. The topology shows the diameter and the number of nodes between any two nodes. Moreover how a data process and the data routing complexities are relied on the chosen topology. Consequently, some characteristics of a sensor networks such as latency, robustness and capacity are changed by their topology [10].

Figure 3‑2 is a graphic mapping of networks topology which shows the links of one or more nodes and explains the physical topology of the network. Despite having the same topology, two networks can differ in transmission rates because of their physical interaction, signal types and distance between nodes [9]. Table 3‑1 describes the different types of network topology.




Basic topology types



A permanent connection between two endpoints and nodes


A dynamic point-to-point circuit that can be dropped if needed.

Bus topology

Linear topology

All nodes are linked to a common transmission medium (bus) which has exactly two endpoints and all data is able to transfer through all nodes.

Distributed bus

All nodes of the network are linked like a branch to a main bus which causes more than two endpoints. Data goes in all directions to all nodes connected on the bus cable until it finds unique addresse.g. the MAC address or IP address on the network and transmit the data.

Ring topology

Each node is linked in a ring or loop to the closest node. The data travels in the ring only in one direction and each node can transmit only one piece of data at a time. Ring topology used control access in the network and if one node fails entire network will fail.

Star topology

Each node has exactly two branches linked to it. External nodes are connected to a central node. The external nodes are only permitted to communicate with the center node and a failure of an external node will cause it to be isolated from the others.

Tree topology

Each node is linked in different tree paths. In each branch, each node transfers the data to upper node. So, a node failure causes the whole connected branch to fail.

Mesh topology

Partially connected

At least two nodes linked with two or more node in a network.

Fully connected

Direct link between any two nodes. There will be n(n-1)/2 links

Mix topology types

Hybrid topology

An arrangement of any two or more different basic network topologies.

Table 3‑1 Topology TYPES [9].

Since Mesh topology is a main topic in the thesis, it is studied more in-depth in this section Mesh Wireless Network

Wireless mesh network is a term used when all wireless nodes are connected to each other within an ad-hoc multi-hob and mesh topology. In this network, any pair of nodes is able to communicate between each other within more than one path. In this network each node is used as a router to forward packets to the neighbor nodes which they have linked to. That means all nodes communicate directly or through other midway nodes without any manual configuration. Therefore, this network also called a self-configuration and self-organized network [11; 12].

As described in Table 3‑1, there are two types of mesh topology ‘Partially connected’ and ‘Fully connected’ (See Figure 3‑3). In a fully connected topology each node has the ability to communicate with all other nodes in the network and creates an interconnection links. By increasing the number of nodes in a mesh network, the number of links increases as well. On the other hand, in a partially connected topology, instead of direct interconnection between nodes, each node has two or more links to others to provide alternate routing and traffic balancing. Due to more links and indirect connections between nodes, traffic can flow through one or more router nodes to the destination [7] and create more reliable interconnections between nodes.

Moreover, in partial network, the nodes are connected to either the node with higher rate of data transaction or the nearest neighbor node while in fully connected network all nodes have a direct links with each other. This multiple link path conducts a reliable communication. Therefore, whenever a connection fails or a node breaks down, the packages can automatically change their path by ‘jumping’ from a disconnected node. This is often called the self-healing of the network. This means that the network’s connection stability and reliability are not essentially affected by node failures [11].

Due to the characteristics of wireless sensor network mesh, this network is self-configuring and self-organizing network in which each end-node is also used as a router (dual role- data originator /data router) to forward the signal packages all the way back of the main gateway.

Therefore, due to the characteristics of mesh networks, this network is becoming one of the most implemented networks which able to have the flexible architecture for the network, easy self-configuration and robust fault tolerance connectivity [11; 12]. Additionally, the self-configuring characteristic of mesh WSN, bring the ability for the network to connect or disconnect nodes from the network. This brings the ability to grow/decrease the network by adding/removing nodes of a system.

Mesh WSN has reliable self-healing and robust fault tolerance. This means if­­­­­­ a node fails or breaks down the signal packages jump from the disconnected node and automatically conducts a new path through the nearest node. However, the new path imposes re-routing and re-organizing to the network [5], which consumes too much power from the system. Therefore, having a power-aware protocol and algorithm is necessary for mesh network. ZigBee protocol is one of the protocols which provides this ability for WSN.

1.2.2 Protocols in WSN Communication

WSN systems include variety of protocols for communication. Protocols need to program in different architectural layers. One of these architectural standard is OSI (Open System Interconnection) framework. In this session a brief introduction of each protocol and OSI are delineated.

Figure 3‑4 shows the graphic overview of all wireless network technologies. This figure illustrated IEEE PAN/LAN/MAN technologies and clearly shows how these standards and protocols can be used in different conditions. For instance, 3G protocol is used to cover a long range of audio information in a wide area network (WAN) while for the same information in a short range and personal area network (PAN), Bluetooth is better.

The standard conceptual rules set for data representation, data communication and error detection across two ends in telecommunication, are called communication protocols. These abstract rules represent in different layers of communication. There are different protocol stacks introducing different architectures for these layers such as AppleTalk, Distributed Systems Architecture (DSA), Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) and Open Systems Interconnect (ISO/OSI). Figure 3‑5 (a) illustrates the different layers of an OSI Model and their functionalities. The OSI model has seven layers and each layer provides services for the upper layer and requests services from the lower layer. Figure 3‑5 (b) shows the typical communication protocols layers. Each of these layers has to deal with different issues regarding the communication procedure.

As the typical protocol stack model shows in Figure 3‑5 the communication protocols should implement all layers from bottom to top. In addition, a management protocol needs to be applied in each layer to manage power efficiency, robust connectivity and connection reliability (see: Figure 3‑5 b). Below, rules and functionality for each layer are described:

* Physical layer: is responsible for signal processing and physical interface connectivity between a device and physical medium and used bit stream in its data unit. It acted as communication channel for sensing and actuation in cost-efficient and reliable manner. Some examples of this layer are: IEEE 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, IEEE 802.15.1 Bluetooth, IEEE 802.15.4 ZigBee, etc. [7]

* Data link layer: provides functionality toward channel sharing, Medium Access Control (MAC-Layer), timing (e.g. data time arrival), local link and capacity. It is responsible for detecting and correcting the data errors in physical layer and control the locality data comparison. It follows the protocols such as point-to-point protocol (PPP) and IEEE 802 Local Link Control (LLC). [7]

* Network layer: is responsible for network routing functionality, network security, energy and power efficiency and reliability of the communication. It includes the network topology management and manages the information and detects errors in data transfer from router to router. A number of protocols is address in this layer such as: Internet protocol (IP), Threshold Sensitive Energy Efficient Sensor Network Protocol and etc. [7].

* Transport layer: provides end-to-end transportation (distributing and gathering) of data between end users. It includes storage and responds for caching and controlling the data to recover them back to the initial message that has been sent. Best-known protocols for this layer are Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) [7].

* Upper layers: The Upper Layers are responsible for application processing, external query processing and etc. Upper layers include presentation layer session layer and application layer [7].

The summary of these standards and protocols are shown in Figure 3‑6

Among all the standard and protocols, IEEE PAN/LAN/MAN technologies are the ones applied in the majority of commercialWSNs to support physical layer and link-data layer signal transmission. As SOHRABY and ZNATI (2007) mentioned, the most common best-known protocols are:” (1) the IEEE 802.15.1 (also known as Bluetooth); (2) the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n series of wireless LANs; (3) the IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee); (4) the MAN-scope IEEE 802.16 (also known as WiMax); and (5) radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging” [7]. Each of these protocols has their own benefits and constraints. The comparisons between IEEE technologies are mentioned in Table 3‑2. As Table 3‑2 shows the IEEE 802.15.4 standard provides data rate of 20 to 250 kbps and operates in the 2.4-GHz ISM band. This standard covers signals in range of 10 m and requires the lowest power among other IEEE class. While IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n transmits the data in the rate of 54 Mbps ideal for wireless internet connections and operates in the 2.4-GHz ISM (Industrial, Scientific and Medical) radio band as well as the 5-GHz ISM / 5-GHz U-NII (Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure) radio band. However, it requires much higher power consumption than IEEE 802.15 [7].

Recently, researchers put much effort to develop “a cost-effective standards-based wireless networking solution that supports low-to medium data rates, has low power consumption, and guarantees security and reliability” [7]. ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies which aims to provide such a standard for WSN consumers. Their mission is to have a simple, reliable, low-cost, low-power and standards-based wireless platform ZigBee standard

The ZigBee standard builds on IEEE 802.15.4 and is suitable for remote monitoring and controlling applications. Although it has lower-data-rates than the other standards, its reliability, security, long life battery with less complexity mechanism make it ideal for building automation in industrial network applications. The architecture of the ZigBee stack is established on the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. The IEEE 802.15.4 defines the physical layer (PHY) and medium access control (MAC) sub-layer and In addition, ZigBee Alliance defines other functionalities for upper layers [7]. Figure 3‑7 is a graphic overview of ZigBee protocol stack and shows the responsibility areas of IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee Alliance platform and users applications [7]. This picture also shows the basic functionality of each layer.

The data transmission service is provided by PHY layer and the protocol in this layer enables the connection between data units and the physical radio channel. ZigBee provides three different frequency band options for PHY layer. First, the transmission data-rate of 250kbps in 16 channels at 2.45GHz (Global) frequency. Second, with 40Kbps in 10 channels at 915MHz (Americas). And the last one, with 20kbps in 1 channel at 868MHz (Europe). The higher data-rate causes a higher order in modulation design and the lower frequency cause a larger cover area and better sensitivity. Depending on the power output, the transmission distance rate can change from 1 to 100 meters. (For more detail information see: Table 7‑1 in Appendix A)

ZigBee WSN has the ability to have static or dynamic network/component with either star or mesh topology and it has three types of nodes: a ZigBee Coordinator (ZC), ZigBee Routers (ZR), and ZigBee End-Devices (ZED).

In order to have a communication protocol and physical connection both PHY layer and MAC sub-layers of the architecture should be defined upon agreement between server and clients. These layers require manual administrative procedures setting for server/client gateway.

The next three levels namely: the network layer, security protocol and transport layer are defined by ZigBee alliance platform automatically. The last layer, application layer, has to interact with the user-interface and other applications; it ought to be programmed with high-level language so that integration with any existing device’s applications becomes more conveniently practical.

The ZigBee stack in gateway is responsible for all the network functionality such as network process management, authentication of the joined nodes, binding nodes and routing the messages throughout the network. ZigBee stack as a standard protocol, has clusters and libraries for improving the implementation process, therefore, using ZigBee compare to other protocols makes the system (including both hardware and software) development process much faster and easier. On the other hand, such standardisation provides easiness of adopt with third party sensors regardless of manufacturer, which might be attached to the network later.

2 Software Aspects

To address the research question regarding the reliability, robustness, and security of any WSN application, it is essential to investigate the software architecture of that network. For convenience in description of the architecture of a WSN application, it is divided into three segments: Physical devices (such as lamps, sensors, nodes), Communication Protocol (terminals and servers, bridge, switch, network topology and standard) and Carried Information (application, functions, etc.).

Any attempts to retain a precise design on software architecture for each part will cause an effective data transmission, which ensures reliability and security of the system [7]. Hence achieving any desired data transmission precision level in a WSN, network management (NM) techniques are applicable. Such techniques assist in network status monitoring, reliability and security amendment, and cooperation supervision between components [7]. NM techniques could also detect and resolve network faults in addition to restoring the system respectively [7].

In practice, designing WSN application necessitates tailoring NM techniques for each architectural segment. Various NM techniques regarding each segment are summarized as follows [7; 12; 5]:

a) Physical architecture:

Sensing and processing management, operation and administration, fault tolerance, maintenance, energy efficiency management, configuration management, performance management, security management, network element management.

b) Communication architecture:

Network management, networking protocols, network topology, function management, monitoring functions, fault management, performance management, security management, service management and communication, maintenance management, network configuration and organization, network behavior, data delivery model, sensor mobility, naming and localization, sensing coverage area, communication coverage area energy efficiency management

c) Information architecture:

Real-time information management, mapping management, service management, analyze information, control application, business application management report management, sending and receiving commands or response, naming, localization, maintenance, fault tolerance

Aforementioned NM techniques enhance quality of the system. According to ISO 9126-1 software quality model Table 4‑1 [13; 14; 15], the quality characteristics of a system could be divided into six fundamental properties: functionality, reliability, usability, efficiency, maintainability, and portability. According to the same documentation, these characteristics are broken to sub-characteristics such as suitability, security, maturity, fault tolerance, adaptability, analyzability, stability, testability and so on [13]. However, focusing on all subcategories collectively exceeds the time horizon of this research, from this stance three dimensions namely reliability, robustness and security are brought into attention.

This section will be divided to two subsections describing the architecture issues and NM techniques for (1) Reliability and Robustness, (2) Security, of WSN and other characteristics is relegated to future studies.

2.1 Reliability and Robustness

In WSNs context, the probability that a network functions properly and aggregates trustworthy data without any interruption continuously, is usually referred to as reliability characteristic of the network [23; 20]. According to ISO 9126-1 software quality documentation, reliability characteristic shows the capability of a network to maintain or re-built (re-start) the service in certain period of time [13]. So, it is important that during long sensing, the network has to service up continuously. Reliable service of a network includes precise and proper sensing, delivering and sending acceptable data to the base station. In other words as Taherkordi et al. (2006) put: “The less loss of interested data, leads us to higher reliability of a system”. Systematic approach perceives reliability as probability of data delivery to the base station rather than point-to-point reliability [16].

Robustness defined by Sohraby et al. (2007) as: “a combination of reliability, availability, and dependability requirements”, reflects the degree of the protocol insensitivity to errors and misinformation”. Achieving system robustness in WSN, necessitates system capability to detect, tolerate and confine errors as well as reconfigure and restart the network respectively [7]. According to the given definition by Sohraby et al. (2007), it is apprehensible that reliability and robustness share commonalities with each other; this is the main rational behind discussing these two attributes together in this section [7].

Considering the nature of communication in WSN, a network is unpredictable and prone to fail caused by any physical damages in hardware devices, energy depletion, communication link error, information collapses in packages and etc. [17; 16]. Therefore, one of the critical issues in design phase of WSN is applying fault tolerance techniques to optimize the network so that reliability and robustness attained [17]. These techniques enable the network to withstand and recover any upcoming failure and restart operation [13].

Liu et al. (2009) categorized fault tolerance techniques into: node placement, topology control, target and event detection, data gathering and aggregation, and sensor surveillance. Reminding from the beginning of this chapter architecture design divided into three segments. Table 4‑2 depicted a summary of the plausible related faults and their solutions in each segment. In the following, each aforementioned fault tolerance techniques are being discussed in each design segment.

a) Reliability and Robustness in Physical Architecture

Fault: any interruption in sensor surveillance, sensors failure

Solution: Node placement management, signal-effect management, hardware replacement

b) Reliability and Robustness in Communication Architecture

Fault: communication link errors, energy depletion

Solution: topology control and event detection , replicated services in communication model, Power consumption management

c) Reliability and Robustness in Information Architecture

Fault: Losing the data package

Solution: data gathering and aggregation management

Table 4‑2 The most probable fault and their fault tolerance solutions in WSN [17; 7; 18]

2.1.1 Reliability and Robustness of Physical Architecture:

a) Reliability and Robustness in Physical Architecture

Fault: any interruption in sensor surveillance
Solution: Node placement management, signal-effect management

Fault sensors failure

Solution: hardware replacement

– Fault: any physical interruption in sensor surveillance

– Solution: Node placement management and signal-effect management

First item that should be considered in designing physical components architecture for reliability and Robustness is: physical placement and signal-effect management. As it is mentioned in section 3, although the mesh network communication is self-organize topology and does not need any manual configuration to bind the network for mobile sensors, the physical architecture and the location schema of the hardware components, sensors and gateways need to be designed carefully [7].

As a characteristic of mesh WSN, the sensors in network are free of any installation restrictions, even though, the placement should be far from any physical destruction or hostile locations. Inappropriate physical placement of sensor transmitters and gateway antenna can cause noise or significant lost in signals [7]. In addition, the signal coverage is decayed by surrounding objects and materials such as metal wall and the like. (E.g. exterior wooden, concrete, brick or gypsum frame, block or wall). Especially in the case of vehicles, the main body can impose such problem and henceforth installation of the sensors in this manner would be delicate.

Moreover, the signal waves might be faded and affected during the transmission, due to various physical phenomena such as reflection, diffraction or scattering [7]. These effects would cause significant interruption in sensor surveillance. Therefore, it is important to manage these signal-effects in early stage of WSN physical architecture design.

  1. Reflection occurs when electromagnetic wave of signals is duplicated due to impinge of the wave on large object or surface such as walls, buildings and the Earth [7]. Therefore, all the reflection of the walls and also the Earth should be acknowledged in physical architecture design.
  2. Diffraction refers to any defection and obstruction in waves caused by irregular sharp edges during the data transmission between the transmitter and receiver [7]. In this case, designers have to be prudent in sensors’ placements in the proximity of sharp edges and corner angels.
  3. Scattering refers to any deviation from straight line. Environmental obstacles in the propagation path affect passing waves from their original structure. Even small irregular object such as street signs, and lampposts might encounter and scatter the wave. Hence WSN should be design to face with any irregular scattering during the wave transmission. Above all, the mobility of sensors and surrounding objects might fade the signals and add noises that should be considered in architecture design [7].

These issues are the basic physical factors, which cause major fault in data aggregation of WSN and cut down reliability and robustness. These destructive signals need to be subtracted from the received signal paths [7] before sending the data to gateway. Therefore, reflection, diffraction and scattering should be considered not only by designers in the physical components placements, but also by programmers in network development.

– Fault: Sensors failure

– Solution: Hardware replacement

The next issue that needs to be considered in designing the physical architecture of a WSN is hardware failure. Sensor’s energy suppliers or any damages to the sensors and/or their transmitters are the sources of hardware failure. Regardless of source of failure, the WSN must be capable of functioning as well as replacing and switching sensors when necessary. Additionally, any changes in the physical components, on one hand, needs an explicit and well-defied consideration on security issue to prevent any potential threats, and on the other hand, needs an adaptable and configurable communication connection network [18].

2.1.2 Reliability and Robustness of Communication Architecture

b) Reliability and Robustness in Communication Architecture

Fault: communication link errors
Solution: topology control and event detection , replicated services in communication model,

Fault: energy depletion
Solution: Power consumption management

– Fault: communication link errors

– Solution:Topology control and event detection , Replicated services in communication model,

Communication link error is an important concern in dealing with reliability and robustness of a network in communication architecture. The sensors in WSN are prone to fail and make link errors in point-to-point reliability of communication protocol. Therefore, it is the network topology responsibility to detect the errors and guarantee the overall reliability of the system.

As it is explained in section, applying mesh topology fosters the network to conduct an acceptable performance and flexible network architecture. This topology allows the sensors to organize in an easy deployment and easy configuration network [19; 12]. The mesh topology brings reliable self-healing and robust fault tolerance characteristics for the network. This means that, without any manual configuration, all sensors communicate with each other directly or through other midway sensors and generate a self-configuration and self-organized network [19; 12]. Therefore, any pair of sensors will be able to communicate between each other within more than one path. The multiple paths link between sensors would conduct a reliable communication for WSN.

In this way, if a sensor fails or breaks down during the operation, the system detects the sensor failure and disconnects it from the network in response. Then, the signal packages jump from the disconnected sensor and automatically conduct a new path through the nearest sensor. Although the fault does not essentially affect the whole system functionality and the network reliability via few sensors’ failures, the system should be programmed in a manner that detect, locate and report the emerging failure to the base station [19].

This fault tolerance topology and re-configuration of new path imposes re-routing of the packages and re-organizing of the network [5], which consumes too much power from the system. Therefore, having a power-aware protocol and algorithm such as ZigBee is necessary for the network for energy efficient function.

– Fault: Energy depletion

– Solution:Power consumption management

Energy depletion is another fault in communication. High power consumption of a sensor or power supply failure is usually the main sources of depletion. For instance, dealing with reflection, diffraction, and scattering of signals, consumes lots of power; this implies a definite need to manage the power consumption in programming WSN communication.

To solve the issue regarding power consumption, three solutions are suggested:

1. Utilization of the resource-efficient algorithm for the network: The algorithm should be energy efficient, provide the most efficient power solution for the network, and enable WSN to operate in a low power level [7].

ZigBee standard protocol perceives to be a suitable solution for network communication between the sensors. As stated in previous chapter, ZigBee stack provides lightweight protocol for network, which can be used as a communication interface between bounded sensors and gateway. One of the characteristic of ZigBee is: low-data-rate transmission, which makes ZigBee as a power-efficient protocol. ZigBee standard also provides reliable binding and data transfer within WSN components. Basic ZigBee devices operate at 1mW radio frequency (RF) power and can switch to sleep mode when it is not involved in data transmission. Since wireless communication wide bandwidth demands high energy, using as narrow bandwidth as possible will assist in retaining efficient power consumption. For this purpose, the network can use channel 2.4 MHz transmission rates. Also ZigBee protocol in a network provides the ability to use 2.4 GHz Global standard, 868-868.8 MHz European standard or 902-938 MHz American standard as the transmission rate for different situation and manage the energy.

2. The other approach to manage the power could be programming the sensor to switch between active and sleep mode sequentially. Keeping the sensor sleep, consumes no energy. This would help the system to be more energy efficient and reduce failures regarding the energy of the system [20].

3. Kumar & Kishore (2009) suggested the third solution as applying aggregation point to reduce total of number of transmitted messages during communication network segment programming. Aggregation point is a regular sensor with the processing capability to filter out any unwanted information from the main data package before transmitting it across the network. This technique reduces both the number of the transmission messages and energy consumption and increases system power-efficiency [20].

2.1.3 Reliability and Robustness of Information Architecture:

c) Reliability and Robustness in Information Architecture

Fault: Losing the data package

Solution: data gathering and aggregation management

– Fault: Losing the data package

– Solution:Data collection and aggregation management

As it is mentioned before, the communication links in WSNs are prone to fail and these failures always affect the transmission of the information. Also it is possible to lose the data package along the data transmission path because of either hardware or network connection failure. Obtaining reliable data transmission requires both managing the data aggregation and programming a reliable protocol for the system from the early stage of software development.

In mesh WSN, every sensor is responsible to dispatch data package to the gateway. Each package of data has a selected cluster head for sending through MAC-layer. As it is mentioned in, for the communication protocol, ZigBee provides predefined data transmission clusters and libraries for MAC and PHY layers that make transfer possible.

Cluster heads sequences data package dispatches during information transfer. Each node (or sensor) in the path gets the data package and checks the cluster head to make sure of the accuracy of the receiving data. To be sure that the messages have reached the destination the receiver node sends an acknowledgement to the sender node about delivering the messages. If the sender does not get the acknowledgement within its time interval, the node finds an alternative path to send the package. The message is retransmitted in certain time intervals until it is received correctly. These techniques help the real-time network to provide reliable informational communication [21; 22]. According to what is discussed, programmers have to prudently develop the cluster heads, acknowledgment message and response interval messages to increase reliability of information transmission.

2.2 Security

According to ISO 9126-1 software quality documentation Table 4‑1, Security is sub-characteristic of functionality of a system and is related to unauthorized access to system functions [23]. In WSNs, security of the network is one of the great challenges [24].

Like reliability, the security of WSN should be considered from the first stage of designing. For instance, table below shows different issues and their solution that should be monitored during each of physical architecture, communication architecture and information architecture design [25; 7; 26].

a) Security in Physical architecture

Issues: Attack and damage a light or sensor, Adding an extra light or sensor,

Solution: Secure protocol ,Shared Keys, naming , Localization, Secure Groups, authorization monitoring , Encryption,

b) Security in Communication architecture

Issues: Attack and hack the protocol, sending fake data package to the network

Solution: Secure protocol, Encryption, naming , Localization, authorization monitoring

c) Security in Information architecture

Issues: pick off the data stream,

Solution: Secure protocol, Encryption , authorization monitoring ,

Table 4‑3 The Probable Issues or Threat in WSN and Their Security Solutions [25; 7; 26]

As Table 4‑3 shows, the solutions to security architecture for WSN are: Naming, Localization, Secure protocol, Secure Groups, Authorization Monitoring, Shared Keys and Encryption [25]. For more convenience all solutions are divided into two sub-categories: (a) Secure Protocol mechanism, and the (b) Naming and Localization mechanism each of which are described in the following:

2.2.1 Secure protocol

WSN, by using ZigBee protocol, provides different effective security techniques to solve any security flaws [26]. Some of these techniques are: Cryptographic, Key-Transport, Frame Protection, Security Key, Access Control List, and Authorization Monitoring.

To coordinate the security services on WSN, ZigBee assigns a trusted sensor as the ‘Trust Center’ on the network. The responsibility of this dedicated sensor would be first to authenticate other sensors requesting to be connected into the network and second to distribute security keys to other sensors and finally enable end-to-end security between sensors and gateway [26].

Trusted Center enlists all trusted sensors. The content of the list includes the MAC addresses of sensors that are authorized to communicate. ZigBee has access control to the list and detects any unauthorized devices from the legitimate ones. In order to accept or reject the joining request, ZigBee sends authenticity message to the higher layer application where a message is observable by the end user whether in base-station or other clients. So the trust center rejects the message sent from unauthorized devices and isolates them from the network [7].

ZigBee applies security services, identified in 802.15.4 for low-level PHY and MAC layer. Additionally, ZigBee has standard security architecture for higher-level Network (NWK) and Application (APS) Layers as a comprehensive security system suit for inter-network communications [26].

In MAC layer, ZigBee secures confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity by two mechanisms with respect to hop transmission. In a single-hop transmission, it secures MAC command messages by using cryptographic algorithm, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). In multi-hop messaging, ZigBee cannot secure the network without interaction with upper layers like the NWK layer [27].

In MAC security command for single-hop, an increased count tag is added in every message frame sent inside the network. The receiver node keeps the tags. If the node detects an old or wrong count tag, it is recognized as a security error [27]. This mechanism makes generating invalid messages difficult and reduces the threat of attacks from spamming. However The MAC layer cannot secure the process by itself, therefore security relies on the upper layers to control this process by setting up the keys and the applicable security level [27].

ZigBee uses Security Key plus Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in upper layers for the multi-hop messaging and controlling secure processing [27].The NWK and APS are in charge of secure frames transport and APS also establishes a secure relationship between different devices in the network [26]. The detail of the Mac and upper layer security process are described in [27].

A very high-security, key-basedcryptographyalgorithm applied in upper layer by ZigBee standard is based on 128-bit keys and the AES encryption standard [7]. These keys can be categorized in three groups, described as follows:

Network security Key:

A shared Common key for all sensors in the network. This key is given to each sensor during the first installation or via key-transport. The network can be secured by the use of this key by all components of WSN system and prevent any illegitimate joining request [26; 7] (physically or spamming).

Link security Key:

A secret session key, unique between any two devices which communicate with each other. The link key is a representative of the relative Master keys [26; 7]. This key prevents any illegitimate messaging in communication and messaging level.

Master security Key:

Each light (senor) or component in WSN uses this key to create the link keys [26; 7].

It is noteworthy to mention that as security is not enabled in ZigBee stack by default, programmers must deploy the application at the desired security level in the planning and designing of a ZigBee network. More information regarding how to organize security and manage encryption keys are described in “Section G: ‘Security Best Practice Recommendation’ in the article [7]”.

Beside all these advantages of using ZigBee security services, ZigBee also has its own disadvantages. One of the disadvantages of ZigBee is related to the run-time for traffic based devices where they cannot be locally separated. The reason could be due to the limited power supplies and small memory size of the lights and sensors in WSN. Therefore some applications might use the same keys as cryptography key. In current ZigBee standard, the application is running on the same node at a time, referred to as an open trust model. This is especially becomes a drawback in scalability of ITS where the intention is growing the network among different vehicles.

2.2.2 Naming and Localization:

Naming is used for identifying the sensor nodes. Several security applications can be built based on naming sensors. The naming can be done in two ways: low-level naming depends on location and sensor topology and high-level naming embeds on application layer. The latter is independent of location and sensor topology [7]. Both naming approaches can be used in a system simultaneously. While the high-level naming is useful for communication between different applications (like domain name in the Internet), the low-level naming is utilized for package forwarding in physical layer applications (Like IP address in the Internet) [7].

Localization schemes allocate a position to each sensor for many applications such as monitoring and tracking interrupted object, enhancement in security application and many more.

The naming and localization approaches introduce the following advantages for WSN programming:

  • In physical layer, whenever a light or sensor is enhanced to the network, the security name of the light or sensor should be authenticated by base-station or vehicle to increase the security. This minimizes the threats of adding any unauthorized extra light or sensor to the network. Also the localization helps the system to determine the exact physical location of any unauthorized movement around the vehicle.
  • By a robust fault tolerance topology and protocol, it is possible to recognize exact broken sensor. Neighboring sensors are responsible to send a message containing location and type of the broken sensor to the base-station.
  • A proper naming proposes lower computation and data transmission traffic on protocol, which leads into less energy consumption and efficient communication.
  • They are additional by-products to sensor naming and localization such as vehicle defect diagnostics, and accident prevention alerting sensor.

2.3 Software Quality Framework

As promised earlier in the research questions, in this section, the main quality framework is generated through merging all presented faults and NM techniques associated to reliability, robustness and security. To keep cohesiveness and coherence with the previous sections of this chapter, the framework is presented into three network architecture segments. The complete table quality software framework can be found in AppendixB.

Table 4‑4, Table 4‑5 and Table 4‑6 exhibit the framework for physical, communication and information architecture. Each table consists of discussed NM techniques and each of which exercising implications both in mesh network and ZigBee protocol. Also the tables indicate whether the practicality of the techniques is tested in real world or it is merely lab-proved for ZigBee protocol. Because ZigBee protocol is quiet fledgling network system compare to Bluetooth, Internet protocols and WiMAX, many of the NM techniques have been tested and provided with practical implications in real world for older existing network systems, while they have not been applied in ZigBee applications yet. For instance, techniques such as Communication Availability, Signal Effect Management and Encryption have been fully exercised in other WSNs and their associated real world practical faults and errors have been resolved. Additionally, for some NM techniques such as Energy Supply and Node Placement Management, no promising concrete practical solution have not been presented in ZigBee yet.

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