HotOS X, Tenth Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems Abstract
Towards a Sensor Network Architecture: Lowering the Waistline
David Culler, Prabal Dutta, Cheng Tien Ee, Rodrigo Fonseca,
Jonathan Hui, Philip Levis, and Joseph Polastre, University of California, Berkeley; Scott Shenker, University of California, Berkeley, and ICSI; Ion Stoica and Gilman Tolle, University of California, Berkeley; Jerry Zhao, ICSI
Wireless sensor networks have the potential to be tremendously
beneficial to society. Embedded sensing will enable new scientific
exploration, lead to better engineering, improve productivity, and
enhance security. Research in sensor networks has made dramatic
progress in the past decade, bringing these possibilities closer to
reality. Hardware, particularly radio technology, is improving
rapidly, leading to cheaper, faster, smaller, and longer-lasting
nodes. Many systems challenges, such as robust multihop routing,
effective power management, precise time synchronization, and
efficient in-network query processing, have stable and compelling
solutions. Several complete applications have been deployed that
demonstrate all of these research accomplishments integrated into a
coherent system, including some at relatively large
But the situation in sensornets, while promising, also has problems.
The literature presents an alphabet soup of protocols and subsystems
that make widely differing assumptions about the rest of the system
and how its parts should interact. The extent to which these parts can
be combined to build usable systems is quite limited. In order to
produce running systems, research groups have produced vertically
integrated designs in which their own set of components are
specifically designed to work together, but are unable to interoperate
with the work of others. This inherent incompatibility greatly reduces
the synergy possible between research efforts and impedes progress.
It is the central tenet of this paper that the primary factor
currently limiting research progress in sensornets today is not any
specific technical challenge (though many remain, and deserve much
further study) but is instead the lack of an overall sensor
network architecture. Such an architecture would identify the
essential services and their conceptual relationships. Such a
decomposition would make it possible to compose components in a manner
that promotes interoperability, transcends generations of technology,
and allows innovation.
- View the full text of this paper in HTML and PDF.
Until June 2006, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2005 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.
- If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.