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Congestion Avoidance Based on Lightweight Buffer Management in Sensor Networks
September 2006 (vol. 17 no. 9)
pp. 934-946

Abstract—A wireless sensor network is constrained by computation capability, memory space, communication bandwidth, and above all, energy supply. When a critical event triggers a surge of data generated by the sensors, congestion may occur as data packets converge toward a sink. Congestion causes energy waste, throughput reduction, and information loss. However, the important problem of congestion avoidance in sensor networks is largely open. This paper proposes a congestion-avoidance scheme based on light-weight buffer management. We describe simple yet effective approaches that prevent data packets from overflowing the buffer space of the intermediate sensors. These approaches automatically adapt the sensors' forwarding rates to nearly optimal without causing congestion. We discuss how to implement buffer-based congestion avoidance with different MAC protocols. In particular, for CSMA with implicit ACK, our 1/k{\hbox{-}}{\rm{buffer}} solution prevents hidden terminals from causing congestion. We demonstrate how to maintain near-optimal throughput with a small buffer at each sensor and how to achieve congestion-free load balancing when there are multiple routing paths toward multiple sinks.

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Index Terms:
Sensor networks, network communication.
Citation:
Shigang Chen, Na Yang, "Congestion Avoidance Based on Lightweight Buffer Management in Sensor Networks," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 17, no. 9, pp. 934-946, Sept. 2006, doi:10.1109/TPDS.2006.115
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