Development Of Wireless Sensor Network Testbed

Computer Science Project Material with Source Code Included

Computer Science Project Material with Source Code Included


The needs for human to know the constituent surrounding their environment and how it affects their life; this brings the necessitation to study some phenomenon that constitute to nature such as temperature, humidity, light intensity to mention but few. With this necessitation, this project work presents an embedded wireless sensor network (WSN) prototype system for weather condition monitoring.

The designed system provides a user interface for user with the software design to access the current and past readings of the respective nodes. The network consists of a data gateway or server which wirelessly collects data from each WSN monitoring node in their respective locations. Each WSN node consists of an Atmega328p microcontroller, sensors and an Xbee wireless communication module based on the IEEE 802.15.4/ Zigbee and industrial, scientific and medical standards. Hence, the server unit allows data collection over Xbee radio frequency module and data access from the designed interface.

It is observed from the results obtained that the higher the temperature; the lower the humidity value and vice versa. The light intensity depends on the energy quality of the light ray while the smoke sensor operates in either logic low or high which represents absence or presence of smoke.

Having studied the literature, this project work design was achieved and implemented successfully using an enabling microcontroller to coordinate all the events and a star network topology was employed to enable communication via a single receiver medium.

Chapter One


1.1 Preamble

The emerging fields of wireless sensor networks combines sensing, computation, and communication into a single tiny device. While the capabilities of any single device are minimal, the composition of hundreds of devices offers radical new technological possibilities. The power of wireless sensor networks lies in the ability to deploy large numbers of tiny nodes that assemble and configure themselves. Usage scenarios for these devices range from real-time tracking, to monitoring of environmental conditions, to ubiquitous computing environments, to in-situ monitoring of the health of structures or equipment. While often referred to as wireless sensor networks, they can also control actuators that extend control from cyberspace into the physical world. The most straightforward application of wireless sensor network technology is to monitor remote environments for low frequency data trends. For example, a chemical plant could be easily monitored for leaks by hundreds of sensors that automatically form a wireless interconnection network and immediately report the detection of any chemical leaks. Unlike traditional wired systems, deployment costs would be minimal. Instead of having to deploy thousands of feet of wire routed through protective conduit, installerssimply have to place quarter-sized device at eachsensing point (Jason, 2003).
The network could be incrementally extended by simply adding moredevices or complex configuration. In addition to drastically reducing the installation costs, wireless sensor networks have the ability to dynamically adapt to changing environments. Adaptation mechanisms can respond to changes in network topologies or can cause the network to shift between drastically different modes of operation. For example, the same embedded network performing leak monitoring in a chemical factory might be reconfigured into a network designed to localize the source of a leak and track the diffusion of poisonous gases. The network could then direct workers to the safest path for emergency evacuation.

Current wireless systems only scratch the surface of possibilities emerging from the integration of low-power communication, sensing, energy storage, and computation.

Recent developments and market trends towards portable computing and communication devices imply an increasingly important role for wireless access in the next generation internet. The research of wireless sensor networks has become prosperous in recent years because of their potential applications in many areas, such as environmental monitoring, surveillance, disaster search and rescue. The short range wireless sensor networks are of prime importance to drive the deployment of large-scale embedded computing devices. Wireless, mobile and sensor network scenarios are expected to grow rapidly at the edge of internet. These devices will be used increasingly in “pervasive computing” applications in which the internet enables monitoring and interaction with every aspect of the physical world. Over past few years, the internet has evolved into a global network supporting a variety of computing and telecommunication applications. In future, the internet must respond to many emerging requirements like increased scale, improved security, and support for mobile, wireless devices and embedded applications (Divya, 2008).

In order to help building the next generation internet which will include wireless and sensor network devices, researchers need a vehicle to drive their next ideas. Researchers are investigating next generation network architecture and protocols but they need a facility to evaluate them. The evaluation can be done using Analytical modelling, simulation or High-fidelity environments (measurements).

Analytical modelling provides best insight into the effects of various parameters and their interactions. In spite of being flexible to use at any stage, analytical modelling is less used compared to simulation or measurements because of its complexity. Another disadvantage of analytical modelling is its simplified mathematical modelling tools which do not capture the irregularity of sensor networks.

1.2 Background of the Study

1.2.1 Wireless Technology

There are situations when it is desirable to make measurements in locations where the use of cabled sensors is challenging. Protecting cable, is by running them through conduit or burying them in channels is time consuming, labour intensive and sometimes not even possible. In some applications, measurements need to be made at distances where long cable decreases the quality of the measurement or are too costly. At times, when there is increase in the measurement being made but the datalogger does not have enough available channels left for attaching additional sensor cables. Each of these instances can be resolved with a wireless sensor network. WSN provides a reliable, low maintenance, low power method for making measurements in applications where cabled sensors are impractical or otherwise undesirable.

1.2.2 Wireless Sensor Network

This is a network that uses wireless connected sensor devices to monitor and communicate specific conditions. It gathers concerned information such as voltage, pressure, motion, sound etc. in different locations, especially some place that people cannot be competent e.g. in nuclear power plants.

A WSN can be formed by multi sensor nodes with different topologies such as star, tree, ring and mesh structures. Different multi-hop routing protocols are applied in these WSN to broaden the communication range. The ideal wireless sensor is networked and scalable, consumes very little power, issmart and software programmable, capable of fast data acquisition, reliable and accurateover the long term, cheap, easy to install, and requires virtually no real maintenance.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

With the effect of environmental quantities on nature and human being, it is our goal is to build an environmental physical quantity monitoring system for intelligent planning, and maintenance of the environment. This system should work under varied physical conditions. It should be cost effective, easy to deploy (no need to dig or build overhead structures) and it shouldrequire minimal maintenance. We want to build a physical quantity monitoring system that is able to remove or reduce the error in human readings. Thus, our efforts are based on reporting temperature, light intensity, humidity and gases (i.e. smoke).

The testbed will be controlled by PC-end with different commands which can collect data from all sensor nodes easily and report failure or abnormity to users in time.

1.4 Justification of the Study

Wireless sensor networks are mainly designed for habitat and environmental monitoring where many sensor nodes gather data that is sent towards one or more sink nodes. Since all this nodes are scattered over a wide area in most cases, they cannot communicate with the sink directly. Due to this fact, we plan on designing two prototypes that will communicate through a receiver means that has to be designed for effective environmental monitoring and analysis.

1.5 Aim and Objectives

1.5.1 Aim

This project work is aimed at developing a wireless sensor network (WSN) testbed for realization of an environmental condition monitoring system.

1.5.2 Objectives
  1. To review the existing WSN testbeds with their respective goals.
  2. To identify the components to be used for the design of the sensory nodes.
  3. To design a WSN based environmental monitoring system.
  4. To implement the designed sensory node that measures different environmental quantities selected.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The proposed solution of this project is limited to two nodes and a server. The two nodes can communicate with the server by sending signal to the server as well as receiving processed signal from the server. The transmitter can only transmit through a distance ranging from 90m to 110m. The two nodes are arranged using star topology network in which the signal sent from each node is being transmitted straight to the server and reply from the server can be received from the node from which the signal is received. The design is to be modelled and simulated for measuring physical environmental quantities using WSN.

1.7 Methods of the Study

The methods employed in the study are:

i. Library:

This entails the use of several textbooks, journals, past projects that have discussed previously the subject matters and have shed light to the subject.

ii. Internet Browsing:

This requires surfing through various websites to get latest information and insight into the project work.

iii. Field Survey:

This includes preliminary and reconnaissance survey of the research area to get basic information about the area for data collection.

iv. Laboratory Works:

This has to do with circuitry design, storage, querying and system analysis.

v. Test:

This involves the implementation of the design and testing it for data collection.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

Wireless sensor network field is one in which researchers are really interested because it offers significant potential in numerous application domain. Given the diverse nature of these domains, it is essential that WSNs perform in a reliable and robust fashion. We believe, wireless sensor network has proved its usage in the future distributed computing environment. However, there are significant amount of technical challenges and design issues that needs to be addressed. One of the biggest challenges is the designing of efficient network management architecture to continuously support WSNs for providing services for various sensor applications.

In this project, a cost efficient wireless sensor network testbed design was achieved. The design criteria for WSN and how it is related to environmental monitoring system design.The prototype built was based on an easy-to-use Atmega328p microcontroller and XBEE module.We consider an environmental condition monitoring application to demonstrate the proof-of-concept of our system. The collected data were stored into the SQL server inbuilt with visual studio.

This design was achieved through the means of data collection, logging, as well as displaying the result and exporting it for further decision making.

The transmission medium used was adopted i.e. XBEE upon the conclusion based on its efficient data delivery, no data loss and minimal radiation that is not injurious to human health.

5.2 Recommendation

Wireless sensor network holds a lot for the future and researches must still be carried out to continuously reduce its cost of implementation. For future use, it is recommended to;

  1. Use a wider range of data transmission media module that can exceed more than 110m.
  2. Extend the current work from a star network to a mesh network topological design which will be useful for deploying sensor networks in large areas like in buildings with multiple rooms and multiple floors.
  3. Adopt a data transmission media which should be able to handle the necessary data to be transmitted, efficient data delivery and no data loss.
  4. Use GPRS/GSM shield module to transfer data as well as web server that will enable accessibility to recorded data anywhere anytime.
  5. Use GPS incorporated with GSM/GPRS shield to enable detection of these phenomena in hazardous locations and giving the exact location of the occurrence.

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