Maximizing the lifetime of wireless sensor networks in trains for monitoring long-distance goods transportation

Huiting Xu, Xi Jin, Fanxin Kong, Qingxu Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


One key issue in designing battery-powered wireless sensor networks is to properly control the energy consumption of the sensor nodes in order to prolong their operation time (i.e. lifetime). In this article, we present a real-life application of wireless sensor networks in trains to monitor the goods conditions in a long-distance transportation. We study the wireless sensor network deployment problem in developing a monitoring system with the goal of maximizing the network lifetime under constraints derived from the real application scenario. The key technical problem to solve is to determine the sensor placement and the transmission level for each sensor node, as well as the appropriate number of sensor nodes. We first formulate the problem with a realistic discrete power model as a mixed integer linear programming problem. Then, a two-step efficient deployment heuristic is proposed to satisfy these constraints step by step. The evaluation results indicate that the proposed heuristic performs almost the same as the optimal mixed integer linear programming solution. Moreover, the wireless sensor network with appropriate number of nodes can improve its lifetime up to 10.6% for a train with 80 boxcars. We also discussed a tested experiment in a laboratory environment, as well as the real implementation of the whole monitoring system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Lifetime maximization
  • Sensor deployment
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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