Wireless sensor network have numerous applications which include area monitoring, environment monitoring, vehicle detection etc. It has wide range of applications and is used to monitor things. It is based on wireless network concept where devices that are spatially distributed are used. These devices are used for monitoring purposes and they monitor conditions like sound, pressure etc. And can be used at different locations. These are popularly used in war fields and were originally developed for that purpose. It is also used for industry purposes these days. In Industries it is used for machine health monitoring, healthcare monitoring etc. It is also effectively used in traffic control.
The setup consists of one or more sensors and each sensor has nodes that have radio transceivers or other communication devices. These communication devices include microcontrollers, batteries etc. The size of a node can either be big or small and their cost can range from few cents to hundreds of dollars depending on their size and complexity. The size and cost of these nodes in turn bother with other results like energy, memory, speed etc.
The network has a wireless ad hoc network within it which has the ability to support multi-hop routing algorithm. According to multi hop routing algorithm there are several nodes which may forward packets to the base.
This subject is a popular topic of research for computer science and telecommunication students and one may find this as a popular topic in various conferences. One may find this commonly in surveillance and is normally associated with monitoring, tracking and controlling. There are specific applications that include habitat monitoring and they are also used in nuclear field.
A wireless sensor network is normally distributed in a wide area and they are meant to collect data from various sources.
There are various characteristics which makes wireless sensor network special and these characteristics include limited power which they can either use or store. The greatest advantage of WSN is its withstanding ability. It can withstand any harsh conditions due to environmental factors. It also has the ability to cope up with node failures and their mobility is also one of the biggest strength of WSN. Its topology is dynamic and it has heterogeneous nodes with large scale deployment facility. The capacity of node is limited by the bandwidth of gateway node.
One can compare sensor nodes with computer and they have a very simple interface with a processing unit with limited memory. The other devices include sensors, communication device and power source. Energy harvesting modules, secondary ASICs may also form a part of the circuitary. Base stations act as a gateway between sensor nodes and end user.
The challenging part with sensor nodes is producing low cost nodes. Sensor nodes are the most important part of the network and hence it is inevitable to produce smaller nodes at nominal price. There are lots of researches done to make the nodes better. The lifetime of a node is determined by the energy level. Nodes are distributed in various parts and hence one needs to address various issues like lifetime maximization. There are other concerns associated with WSN which includes security, robustness etc. It is also necessary to concentrate in mobility when the base is movable.