Infoscience

Journal article

A Little Feedback Can Simplify Sensor Network Cooperation

Shannon's discovery of digital communication has shaped the architecture of virtually all communication systems in use today. The digital communication paradigm is built around the notion of bits and uses careful coding to deliver bits reliably end-to-end. It has been shown that this architectural principle can lead to a very significant performance penalty in wireless sensor networks. For a limited class of network scenarios, it was shown that optimal architectures are analog in nature, simple and scalable. In this paper, we show that more generally, simple analog architectures crucially depend on feedback to the sensors. Interesting questions then concern the amount of feedback needed and the resulting trade-off with performance. This paper provides rules-of-thumb for the selection of the number of feedback bits.

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