Minimum Energy Paths for Reliable Communication in Multi-hop Wireless Networks

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Current algorithms for minimum-energy routing in wireless networks typically select minimum-cost multi-hop paths. In
scenarios where the transmission power is fixed, each link has the same cost and the minimum-hop path is selected. In situations where the transmission power can be varied with the distance of the link, the link cost is higher for longer hops; the energy-aware routing algorithms select a path with a large number of small-distance hops. In this paper, we argue that such a formulation based solely on the energy spent in a single transmission is misleading --- the proper
metric should include the total energy (including that expended for any retransmissions necessary) spent in reliably delivering the packet to its final destination.

We first study how link error rates affect this retransmission-aware metric, and how it leads to an efficient choice between a path with a large number of short-distance hops and another with a smaller number of large-distance hops. Such studies motivate the definition of a link cost that is a function of both the energy required for a single transmission attempt across the link and the link error rate. This cost function captures the cumulative energy expended in reliable data transfer, for both reliable and unreliable link layers. Finally, through detailed simulations, we show that our schemes can lead to upto 30-70% energy savings over best known current schemes, under realistic environments.