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Förslaget inkom 2010-02-04

Networking Wireless Sensors Using Smart Antennas

Research Area. Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) combine recent advances in low-power micro-sensors and short-range wireless radios into an exciting new technology. They enable numerous sensing and monitoring applications in areas of vital importance such as industry production, safety and security at home and in vehicular traffic, and environmental monitoring. The importance of the field is growing tremendously. For instance, the market analysis company ONWorld estimates that in 2010 about 168 million nodes could be deployed. They also predict that the market for WSNs will increase from ca. 400 million Euro in 2006 to about 9000 million Euro in 2010.

Thesis Context and Objective. Because of inherent limitations in WSN hardware and the unreliability of the wireless channel, networking WSN devices poses several challenges to reliability, latency, and throughput. A solution to the problem may come from the use of “smart” antennas. While traditional antennas spread the transmission power equally in every direction, smart antennas can direct the wireless beam towards specific directions, achieving far better reliability and energy efficiency.

The networked embedded systems group at SICS (http://www.sics.se/nes)—one of the leading European
research groups in WSNs—is actively investigating the use of smart antennas in WSNs. We designed and built a
cheap, yet flexible smart antenna prototype that can be easily integrated with existing WSN nodes. Early experiments in real-world settings proved the functioning of our antenna prototype. The objective of the thesis is to continue the work in this field along different possible directions, depending on the student’s interests and background. For instance, we would like to carry out a full characterization of the smart antenna prototype to build models for use in WSN simulators. Another possibility deals with the design and implementation of routing protocols expressly conceived to take advantage of the smart antenna’s capabilities. Nevertheless, the topic
may also open up unforeseen opportunities for interesting research.

Candidate Requirements. We are looking for a top, creative student with a strong interest in wireless networking and
sensor networks. Good C programming skills are required. The work will be performed in an international environ-
ment. Therefore, good communication skills in English are required.

Starting Date and Application. The thesis work shall start as soon as possible. For the application, please send
us an up-to-date CV, courses taken and grades. In addition, we appreciate an article, paper, thesis or other relevant documents you have written in order to judge your ability to express yourself in English. Please send your application to thiemo@sics.se. If the thesis work is satisfactory, we will pay a one-time fee once the thesis is approved by the university.


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