Relay node placement in large scale wireless sensor networks

Jian Tang, Bin Hao, Arunabha Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

299 Scopus citations


Scalability and extended lifetime are two critical design goals of any large scale wireless sensor network. A two-tiered network model has been proposed recently for this purpose. This is a cluster-based network model composed of relay and sensor nodes. Relay nodes are placed in the playing field to serve as cluster heads and to form a connected network topology for information dissemination at the higher tier. The relay nodes are capable of aggregating data packets from the sensor nodes in their clusters and transmitting them to the sink node via wireless multi-hop paths. In this paper, we study the relay node placement problem in large scale wireless sensor networks. Our objective is to place the fewest number of relay nodes in the playing field of a sensor network such that (1) each sensor node can communicate with at least one relay node and (2) the network of relay nodes is connected. However, placement strategies realizing goals (1) and (2) do not provide any fault-tolerance as the network may lose functionality after failure of some of the relay nodes. In order to incorporate fault-tolerance in such a network, we ensure that every sensor node is able to communicate with at least two relay nodes and the induced network topology is 2-connected. This strategy will ensure survivability of the network in the event of single fault, in lieu of higher relay node placement cost. We formulate the relay node placement in wireless sensor networks as two optimization problems: (i) Connected Relay Node Single Cover (CRNSC) problem and (ii) 2-Connected Relay Node Double Cover (2CRNDC) problem. We present two polynomial time approximation algorithms to solve the CRNSC problem. We prove that the ratio of the number of relay nodes needed by the approximation algorithm to the number of relay nodes needed by the optimal algorithm is bounded by 8 for the first algorithm and 4.5 for the second. In addition, for the 2CRNDC problem we provide two approximation algorithms with performance bounds 6 and 4.5, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-501
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 20 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Fault-tolerance
  • Relay node placement
  • Wireless sensor network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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