Joint Identity-Message Coding for Sensor Networks
In a significant class of sensor-network applications, the identities of the reporting sensors constitute the bulk of the communicated data, whereas the message itself can be as small as a single bit—for instance, in many cases, sensors are used to detect whether and where a certain interesting condition occurred, or to track incremental environmental changes at fixed locations. In such scenarios, the traditional network-protocol paradigm of separately specifying the source identity and the message in distinct fields leads to inefficient communication. This work addresses the question of how communication should happen in such identity-aware sensor networks. We cal- culate theoretical performance bounds for this type of communi- cation, where “performance” refers to the number of transmitted bits. We propose a communication protocol, where the identity and message of each source are specified jointly using subspace coding. We show through analysis and simulation that our protocol’s performance is close to optimal and compare it to the performance of a traditional protocol, where identity and message are specified separately.