In this chapter, wireless sensor network (WSN) principles are being shortly introduced and discussed. In order to increase the level of understanding for analyzing Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) systems it is useful to study the technology behind them – the technologies which are presented in this section.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are distributed and independent sensors that are connected and worked together to measure quantities such as temperature, humidity, pressure, noise levels or vibrations . WSNs can measure vehicular movement (velocity, location, etc.) and monitor conditions such as lightning condition, soil makeup and motion . Nowadays, WSNs are utilized in many common applications such as vehicle applications. Some of vehicle applications are: vehicle tracking and detection, tire pressure monitoring, vehicle speed detection, vehicle direction indicator, traffic control, reversing aid sensors etc. Such applications can be divided in major categories such as safety, security, environment and logistics.
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To implement WSN in an application and have an efficient system, first we need to consider about WSN technology, components and communication topology and protocols. Therefore, first, in this chapter, basic information about WSN components, the communication devices and process unit of WSN will be described. Then, the chapter will be followed by a description of the WSN topologies and protocols emphasizing on mesh WSN technology with ZigBee Protocol.
To provide comprehensive view of WSN hardware, understanding of WSN components’ structure is required. Wireless sensors are small microcontrollers equipped with wireless communication device and an energy supplier. The architecture of WSNs is illustrated in Figure 3‑1 .
As Figure 3‑1 shows the components of WSNs are sensing unit, processing unit, power supplier and communication device. The sensing unit consists of sensors and Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs). ADCs are responsible for gathering the signals and converting them into digital signals data and transfer them through each other using network topology to the processor unit. In the sensing unit, each sensor is called an ‘end node’ and varies in size and cost. The mission of these multifunction sensor nodes are to sense, process data and collaborate with other nodes . Wireless sensor network can be positioned in two ways, either using a complex technique with the large sensors far from the object or using several sensors with an engineered design on position and topology . In addition, each node provided with a wireless communication transceiver as a communication component.
In the process unit, the controller and small memory storage are responsible for managing the collaboration within the sensors to achieve the assigning task. In addition, the communication device with a transceiver makes the network connection. Above all, the essential component of WSN is the power unit, which supports the power for all units .
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