Energy profiling in practical sensor networks: Identifying hidden consumers

James Brusey, John Kemp, Elena Gaura, Ross Wilkins, Mike Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Reducing energy consumption of wireless sensor nodes extends battery life and/or enables the use of energy harvesting and thus makes feasible many applications that might otherwise be impossible, too costly or require constant maintenance. However, theoretical approaches proposed to date that minimize Wireless Sensor Network energy needs generally lead to less than expected savings in practice. We examine the experiences of tuning the energy profile for two near-production wireless sensor systems and demonstrate the need for: 1) microbenchmark-based energy consumption profiling; 2) examining start-up costs; and 3) monitoring the nodes during long-term deployments. The tuning exercise resulted in reductions in energy consumption of: 1) 93% for a multihop Telos-based system (average power 0.029 mW); 2) 94.7% for a single hop Ti-8051-based system during startup; and 3) 39% for a Ti-8051 system post start-up. This paper shows that reducing the energy consumption of a node requires a whole system view, not just measurement of a typical sensing cycle. We give both generic lessons and specific application examples that provide guidance for practical WSN design and deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7471452
Pages (from-to)6072-6080
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • data compression
  • Internet of Things
  • low-power electronics
  • Wireless sensor networks


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy profiling in practical sensor networks: Identifying hidden consumers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this