Radio diversity for reliable communication in sensor networks

Branislav Kusy*, David Abbott, Christian Richter, Cong Huynh, Mikhail Afanasyev, Wen Hu, Michael Brunig, Diethelm Ostry, Raja Jurdak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Radio connectivity in wireless sensor networks is highly intermittent due to unpredictable and time-varying noise and interference patterns in the environment. Because link qualities are not predictable prior to deployment, current deterministic solutions to unreliable links, such as increasing network density or transmission power, require overprovisioning of network resources and do not always improve reliability. We propose a new dual-radio network architecture to improve communication reliability in wireless sensor networks. Specifically, we show that radio transceivers operating at well-separated frequencies and spatially separated antennas offer robust communication, high link diversity, and better interference mitigation. We derive the optimal parameters for the dual-transceiver setup from frequency and space diversity in theory. We observe that frequency diversity holds themost benefits as long as the antennas are sufficiently separated to prevent coupling. Our experiments on an indoor/outdoor testbed confirm the theoretical predictions and show that radio diversity can significantly improve end-to-end delivery rates and network stability at only a small increase in energy cost over a single radio. Simulation experiments further validate the improvements in multiple topology configurations, but also reveal that the benefits of radio diversity are coupled to the number of available routing paths to the destination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalACM Transactions on Sensor Networks
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Radio diversity and robustness
  • Wireless sensor networks


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