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What do you mean by a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN)?

A wireless sensor network (WSN) is a computer network composed of a number of independent sensor nodes.

Each node is embedded in the physical world (an environmental sensor) that is the topic of interest and communicates with other nodes (gateway nodes) via radio to deliver data.

The wireless protocol you select depends on your application requirements. Some of the available standards include 2.4 GHz radios based on either IEEE 802.15.4 or IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi) standards or proprietary radios, usually 900 MHz.

In many diverse fields, including manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare, to mention a few, wireless sensor networks are frequently employed. In this post, you will learn about Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), including how they may be used for industrial, agricultural, medical, and environmental monitoring. Additionally, the kinds, protocols, and applications of WSNs will be covered.

wireless sensor network
wireless sensor network

Components of a Wireless Sensor Network Node

A WSN node contains several technical components. These include the radio, battery, microcontroller, analogue circuit, and sensor interface. When using WSN radio technology, you must make essential trade-offs. Radios that run on batteries use more power when they send and receive more data and are used more often. Often three years of battery life is a requirement, so many WSN systems today are based on ZigBee due to their low power consumption. Wi-Fi is an exciting technology because battery life and power management technology are always getting better and because IEEE 802.11 has a lot of bandwidth.

The second technology consideration for WSN systems is the battery. You must also think about the size and weight of batteries, as well as the international standards for shipping batteries and the availability of batteries. The low cost and wide availability of carbon-zinc and alkaline batteries are common choices.

To extend battery life, a WSN node periodically wakes up and transmits data by powering on the radio and then powering it back off to conserve energy. WSN radio technology must efficiently transmit a signal and allow the system to go back to sleep with minimal power use. This means the processor involved must also be able to wake, power up, and return to sleep mode efficiently.

Microprocessor trends for WSNs include reducing power consumption while maintaining or increasing processor speed. Like your radio choice, the power consumption and processing speed trade-off are the key concerns when selecting a processor for WSNs. This makes the x86 architecture a difficult option for battery-powered devices.

WSN Network Topologies

WSN nodes are typically organised into one of three types of network topologies. In a star topology, each node connects directly to a gateway. In a cluster tree network, each node connects to a node higher in the tree and then to the gateway, and data is routed from the lowest node in the tree to the gateway.

Finally, to offer increased reliability, mesh networks feature nodes that can connect to multiple nodes in the system and pass data through the most reliable path available. This mesh link is often referred to as a router.

Security Issues with WSN

Despite the simplicity of WSN design and deployment, the security of such systems is compromised when nodes cannot authenticate one another. In addition, any node can be compromised, and thus the trust level of any node in a WSN can be compromised too. These situations will result in an unauthorized node taking advantage of the communication network. Once the node compromises the network, the attacker can access data stored in the other nodes, such as the sensor or actuator’s data. It will cause the degradation of overall security. An attacker may take advantage of the network to launch denial-of-service attacks.

Conclusion

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are emerging technologies that have the potential to make our lives easier by detecting the environment around us and by monitoring our environments. This is particularly true in the industrial environment, where monitoring systems can be used to automate systems and even detect and alert us of any potential problems.

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