Extending Lifetime of Biomedical Wireless Sensor Networks using Energy-Aware Routing and Relay Nodes

Extending Lifetime of Biomedical Wireless Sensor Networks using Energy-Aware Routing and Relay Nodes

Carlos Abreu (Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Portugal) and Paulo M. Mendes (DEI, Universidade do Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3158-6.ch031
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Biomedical wireless sensor networks are a key technology to enable the development of new healthcare services and/or applications, reducing costs and improving the citizen's quality of life. However, since they deal with health data, such networks should implement mechanisms to enforce high levels of quality of service. In most cases, the sensor nodes that form such networks are small and battery powered, and these extra quality of service mechanisms mean significant lifetime reduction due to the extra energy consumption. The network lifetime is thus a relevant feature to ensure the necessary quality of service requirements. In order to maximise the network lifetime, and its ability to offer the required quality of service, new strategies are needed to increase the energy efficiency, and balance in the network. The focus of this work goes to the effective use of the available energy in each node, combined with information about the reliability of the wireless links, as a metric to form reliable and energy-aware routes throughout the network. This paper present and discusses two different deployment strategies using energy-aware routing and relay nodes, assessed for different logical topologies. The authors' conclusion is that the use of energy-aware routing combined with strategic placed relay nodes my increase the network lifetime as high as 45%.
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Qos Requirements Of Biomedical Wireless Sensor Networks

Nowadays, healthcare professionals base most of their decisions on the information obtained from electronic or/and computer systems. Such information on the health condition of an individual must have medical quality. According to (American College of Medical Quality, 2010), medical quality can be defined as “the degree to which health care systems, services and supplies for individuals and populations increase the likelihood for positive health outcomes and are consistent with current professional knowledge”. This definition makes clear that communication networks used to transport medical data must ensure a service with quality, providing valid and accurate data. In the context of communication networks this requirement is expressed in terms of QoS.

In the industrial and scientific community, the QoS is understood in different ways. In its E.800 recommendation, the International Telecommunications Union defines QoS as the “totality of characteristics of a telecommunication service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated and implied needs of the user of the service”. Regarding this definition, communication networks (in which BWSNs are included) used to transport medical data are a keystone to ensure high standards of quality in the services provided by healthcare professionals. On its turn, the RFC2386 defines QoS as: “A set of service requirements to be met by the network while transporting a flow”. Given this definition, it is necessary to specify the requirements that must be ensured by the network, who set them up, and in what situations.

The QoS requirements of BWSNs depend on their application and purpose. In real deployments BWSNs are highly heterogeneous, in other words, they have to support different devices and transport distinct data types. Figure 1 represents a patient monitoring network where each sensor node can generate several data flows (e.g. heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and oximetry), with each one being assigned a specific QoS profile.

Figure 1.

A BWSN were each sensor node can generate distinct data flows

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