Overview of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) Architecture

A Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) is a set of spatially distributed and dedicated sensors which are interlinked via the wireless medium for monitoring and recording the physical conditions of the environment and organizing the collected data at a central location. Wireless communication in WSNs is mostly based on standardized technologies about Wireless Local Area Networks (802.11) and Wireless Personal Area Networks (802.15). The technology would include Bluetooth, ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4), UWB (Ultra Wide Band), Wi-Fi and so on. 

Talking about the architecture, WSN is built based on the ISO OSI Model. This protocol stack contains the Physical layer, Data link layer, Network layer, Transport layer, and Application layer. Besides this, there are a few cross planes or layers used to manage the network and make the sensors work together in order to increase the overall efficiency of the network, the cross layers could include Task management plane, Mobility management plane, Power management plane, and so on. 

Let’s quickly try to understand each layer in the WSN architecture. 

Physical layer

This layer provides an interface to transmit a stream of bits having the responsibility of frequency selection, carrier frequency generation, signal detection and propagation, signal modulation, and data encryption.

Data Link layer

This layer performs multiplexing data streams, data frame detection, medium access control, power-saving modes of operation, error control, and so on.

Network layer

Since WSNs are mostly data-centric, hence power efficiency is always an important consideration to preserve network life. This layer also does data aggregation, attribute-based addressing, and location awareness.

Transport layer

This layer is especially required when the system is planned to be accessed through the Internet or other external networks. It helps to maintain the flow of data if required.

Application layer

This layer uses Sensor Management Protocol SMP, Task Assignment and Data Advertisement Protocol TADAP, Sensor query and data dissemination protocol SQDDP, and it has the responsibility of traffic management and provides software for different applications that translate the data in an understandable form or send queries to obtain certain information since WSN can be deployed in various applications like military, medical, environment, agriculture fields.

The architecture perfectly depicts not only the communication scenario but also the significance of the task to the management of mobility and power.

If you want to get familiar with the upcoming developments in WSN, AI, and IoT, then check out our “The Today & Future of WSN, AI, and IOT” book.  

Table of Contents 
WSN, AI, and IoT: Future Shock
Active Research Areas of WSN, AI, and IoT
Simulators of WSN, AI, and IoT
Blockchain for WSN, AI, and IoT
State of AI and IoT by 2050

What’s Next?

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