Wireless Sensor Network Testbed at ITU


In the Wireless Sensor Network(WSN) world, one of the still to be understood phenomena is power consumption. When dealing with small, low-power devices, running protocols that explodes this characteristics, understanding the way the energy is spent is crucial, specially when we want to optimize systems to their limit. As part of my Master’s Thesis, I have been working with TinyOS and the Telosb and Epic platforms, in order to help biologists and scientists to wirelessly gather data in High-Arctic environments (MANA project), and still now questions related to power consumption, energy harvesting or the impact of temperature in hardware behavior are still unclear to me and my group.

For the last couple of days, I have been working on an idea that we ourselves proposed as part of a Wireless Sensor Network(WSN) PhD course – Building up a Testbed in front of the IT University of Copenhagen, where we can test and monitor the hardware and software we expect to deploy in Arctic stations -such as Zackenberg(Greenland)- so that all the mistakes we are able to make at home, can be avoided when deploying the system.

This Testbed aims -at least now, in the beginning- to be non-hardware specific, being possible to contrast different platforms, protocols, and techniques when working under the same conditions. The first iteration is being developed with Arduino-based equipment, which is described below, and intends to be a base for future improvements and tests.

At the moment, only temperature is being monitored and transmitted to the base station (another Arduino UNO + XBee Pro), nonetheless, counting on the infrastructure, we can easily start building on top of it, keeping current measurements as meta-data when including more sophisticated sensors for water quality monitoring, cloud covering, light, etc.

This is an easy start, and hopefully the beginning of a real infrastructure for WSN experiments 🙂

– javier