Detection performance limits for distributed sensor networks in the presence of nonideal channels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Existing studies on the classical distributed detection problem typically assume idealized transmissions between local sensors and a fusion center. This is not guaranteed in the emerging wireless sensor networks with low-cost sensors and stringent power/delay constraints. By focusing on discrete transmission channels, we study the performance limits, in both asymptotic and non-asymptotic regimes, of a distributed detection system as a function of channel characteristics. For asymptotic analysis, we compute the error exponents of the underlying hypothesis testing problem; while for cases with a finite number of sensors, we determine channel conditions under which the distributed detection systems become useless - observing the channel outputs cannot help reduce the error probability at the fusion center. We demonstrate that as the number of sensors or the quantization levels at local sensors increase, the requirements on channel quality can be relaxed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3034-3038
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Chernoff information
  • Detection performance limits
  • Distributed detection
  • Kullback-Leibler distance
  • Nonideal transmission channels
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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