This paper considers the design of wireless sensor networks in which a set of smart battery-powered sensor nodes cooperatively form an ad hoc communications network for monitoring and control applications. The paper examines ways of extending the life of such networks by introducing a 'sleep mode' in the sensor node. Quantitative analysis is used to show that although there is a complex relationship between 'sleeping' and energy conservation, it is possible to make significant energy savings while incurring only modest degradation in performance. An optimum energy saving curve is derived which provides a basis for the design of extended-life ad hoc wireless sensor networks.
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