Reliable Data Transmission in Harsh Environments: Routing protocols for Environmental Monitoring Sensor Networks


François Ingelrest


Self-organization and multi-hop routing make wireless sensor networks highly versatile, favoring their use in place of older, less friendly technologies. In this perspective, their potential contribution to various domains has been widely studied, ranging from the study of tree canopy climate to precision agriculture. We are interested in environmental monitoring, which is currently limited by the use of older technology for data gathering, based on a single expensive sensing station, leading to a lack of spatio-temporal observations. Consequently, researchers have difficulty to test and to validate their models. An easy-to-deploy-and-configure WSN can greatly help in collecting the required data: this is where SensorScope comes into play with its low-cost, flexible networked stations.

To overcome the original limitations of SensorScope, we have developed a complete communication stack well-fitted to deployment sites (e.g., isolated places, harsh meteorological conditions). This stack features multi-hop routing and synchronization among stations, as well as an advanced energy management of the radio chip [2]. This stack has already been used during 6 different deployments for typical environmental applications at various places in Switzerland, ranging from the border of a water stream to high mountains. Therefore, the robustness and the reliability of the stack have been proven. This stack is also available under an open-source licence (BSD-like) on our website.


Figure 1: Modeling of a microclimate on the Génépi mountain.


Figure 1 shows the air temperature model of the Génépi mountain. This model has been developed thanks to the data we have gathered during one of our deployments. It shows that there is a microclimate over there, which is caused by the thick layer of ice buried under the rocks. This particular example shows the usefulness of the multi-hop routing protocol, as the only suitable location to place the base station was on the verge of the mountain, where a GPRS connection was available. Without multi-hopping, we would not have been able to sufficiently spread the stations to get the needed data for this modeling.

Our ongoing research focuses on increasing the robustness of the network by deploying multiple base stations in the most efficient way, possibly not all of them working at the same time. Our results are transferred to the FP6 WASP European project, which aims at filling the gap between academic research and industrial needs on wireless sensor networks.


Guillermo Barrenetxea


Yue M. Lu


Gunnar Schaefer


Martin Vetterli


Olivier Couach


Marc Parlange


Nathalie Mitton


David Simplot-Ryl

(INRIA Lille – Nord Europe).

Hannes Frey

(Univ. Paderborn).

Pedro M. Ruiz

(Univ. Murcia).


Project Period, Funding Source:

November 2005 – ongoing,

WASP European project


Major Publications:

Localized Minimum Spanning Tree Based Multicast Routing with Energy-Efficient Guaranteed Delivery in Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks

. H. Frey, F. Ingelrest and D. Simplot-Ryl.

The 9th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WOWMOM 2008)

. Newport beach, CA, USA, 23-27 June 2008.



SensorScope: Out-of-the-Box Environmental Monitoring

. G. Barrenetxea, F. Ingelrest, G. Schaefer, M. Vetterli, O. Couach and M. Parlange.

The 7th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN 2008)

. St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 22-24 April 2008.



A Turnover based Adaptive HELLO Protocol for Mobile Ad Hoc and Sensor Networks

. F. Ingelrest, N. Mitton and D. Simplot-Ryl.

The 15th IEEE International Symposium on Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems (MASCOTS 2007)

. Istanbul, Turkey, 24-26 October 2007.