(Ne)tworking (W)ireless (S)ensors Lab

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Energy-efficient Protocols for Wireless Communication in Biosensor Networks


Advances in semiconductor technology have made it possible to build miniature but reliable biosensors.  A network of such biosensors can be implanted in humans for health monitoring and prosthesis.  However, such networks are fundamentally different from other wireless networks. They have a continuous but very small source of power. This energy constraint necessiates the use of highly energy-efficient communication protocols.  We present two such protocols in the context of a biomedical application we are working on, namely retinal prosthesis.  Our first approach is a cluster-based protocol in which only a small fraction of the nodes make expensive long distance transmits to the external base station. Our second approach is a tree-based protocol. We also analyse the energy efficiency of these protocols while varying parameters such as number of nodes in the system and distance between nodes. Our analysis shows that the cluster based protocol has better energy performance. 

Keywords: network protocols, energy efficiency, wireless LAN, embedded sensors, biomedical applications.

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Last modified: February 10, 2002