Temperature has a strong impact on the operations of all electrical and electronic components. In wireless sensor nodes, temperature variations can lead to loss of synchronization, degradation of the link quality, or early battery depletion, and can therefore affect key network metrics such as throughput, delay, and lifetime. Considering that most outdoor deployments are exposed to strong temperature variations across time and space, a deep understanding of how temperature affects network protocols is fundamental to comprehend flaws in their design and to improve their performance. Existing testbed infrastructures, however, do not allow to systematically study the impact of temperature on wireless sensor networks.
In this paper we present TempLab, an extension for wireless sensor network testbeds that allows to control the on-board temperature of sensor nodes and to study the effects of tem- perature variations on the network performance in a precise and repeatable fashion. TempLab can accurately reproduce traces recorded in outdoor environments with fine granularity, while minimizing the hardware costs and configuration overhead. We use TempLab to analyse the detrimental effects of temperature variations (i) on processing performance, (ii) on a tree routing protocol, and (iii) on CSMA-based MAC protocols, deriving insights that would have not been revealed using existing testbed installations.