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Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks: How Do Acoustic Propagation Models Impact the Performance of Higher-Level Protocols?

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Author(s): Jesús Llor | Manuel P. Malumbres

Journal: Sensors
ISSN 1424-8220

Volume: 12;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1312;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: underwater wireless sensor networks | network simulation | acoustic propagation models | MAC and routing protocols

ABSTRACT
Several Medium Access Control (MAC) and routing protocols have been developed in the last years for Underwater Wireless Sensor Networks (UWSNs). One of the main difficulties to compare and validate the performance of different proposals is the lack of a common standard to model the acoustic propagation in the underwater environment. In this paper we analyze the evolution of underwater acoustic prediction models from a simple approach to more detailed and accurate models. Then, different high layer network protocols are tested with different acoustic propagation models in order to determine the influence of environmental parameters on the obtained results. After several experiments, we can conclude that higher-level protocols are sensitive to both: (a) physical layer parameters related to the network scenario and (b) the acoustic propagation model. Conditions like ocean surface activity, scenario location, bathymetry or floor sediment composition, may change the signal propagation behavior. So, when designing network architectures for UWSNs, the role of the physical layer should be seriously taken into account in order to assert that the obtained simulation results will be close to the ones obtained in real network scenarios.
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