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Estimating packet reception rate in noisy environments

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For the design of dependable and efficient wireless sensor networks it is essential to estimate the achievable packet reception rate (PRR) in the deployment environment. Making such estimation is not trivial as packet delivery success depends on the level of interference present in the deployment area. In this work we show that it is possible to obtain a meaningful representation of the expected interference levels at the target location by measuring the probability distribution function of idle period lengths, and use this to estimate PRR before network deployment. We show how a probability distribution function of idle period lengths can be measured using off-the-shelf sensor nodes. We illustrate how to exploit this methodology to estimate PRR in dependence of the used packet length, and show that relatively short measurement periods provide enough data to obtain accurate predictions. We carry out an extensive experimen- tal evaluation showing that Wi-Fi interference can be captured using this method which allows PRR predictions in such Wi-Fi interference setting with an average error of only 3.2%.