Wireless Sensor Network Architecture and Its Applications

Currently, WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) is the most standard services employed in commercial and industrial applications, because of its technical development in a processor, communication, and low-power usage of embedded computing devices. The wireless sensor network architecture is built with nodes that are used to observe the surroundings like temperature, humidity, pressure, position, vibration, sound, etc. These nodes can be used in various real-time applications to perform various tasks like smart detecting, a discovery of neighbor nodes, data processing and storage, data collection, target tracking, monitor and controlling, synchronization, node localization, and effective routing between the base station and nodes. Presently, WSNs are beginning to be organized in an enhanced step. It is not awkward to expect that in 10 to 15 years that the world will be protected with WSNs with entree to them via the Internet. This can be measured as the Internet becoming a physical n/w. This technology is thrilling with infinite potential for many application areas like medical, environmental, transportation, military, entertainment, homeland defense, crisis management, and also smart spaces.

What is a Wireless Sensor Network?

A Wireless Sensor Network is one kind of wireless network that includes a large number of circulating, self-directed, minute, low powered devices named sensor nodes called motes. These networks certainly cover a huge number of spatially distributed, little, battery-operated, embedded devices that are networked to caringly collect, process, and transfer data to the operators, and it has controlled the capabilities of computing & processing. Nodes are tiny computers, which work jointly to form networks.

Wireless Sensor Network
Wireless Sensor Network

The sensor node is a multi-functional, energy-efficient wireless device. The applications of motes in industrial are widespread. A collection of sensor nodes collects the data from the surroundings to achieve specific application objectives. The communication between motes can be done with each other using transceivers. In a wireless sensor network, the number of motes can be in the order of hundreds/ even thousands. In contrast with sensor n/ws, Ad Hoc networks will have fewer nodes without any structure.

Wireless Sensor Network Architecture

The most common wireless sensor network architecture follows the OSI architecture Model. The architecture of the WSN includes five layers and three cross layers. Mostly in sensor n/w, we require five layers, namely application, transport, n/w, data link & physical layer. The three cross planes are namely power management, mobility management, and task management. These layers of the WSN are used to accomplish the n/w and make the sensors work together in order to raise the complete efficiency of the network. Please follow the below link for Types of wireless sensor networks and WSN topologies

Types of WSN Architectures

The architecture used in WSN is sensor network architecture. This kind of architecture is applicable in different places such as hospitals, schools, roads, buildings as well as it is used in different applications such as security management, disaster management & crisis management, etc. There are two types of architectures used in wireless sensor networks which include the following. There are 2 types of wireless sensor architectures: Layered Network Architecture, and Clustered Architecture. These are explained as following below.

  • Layered Network Architecture
  • Clustered Network Architecture

Layered Network Architecture

This kind of network uses hundreds of sensor nodes as well as a base station. Here the arrangement of network nodes can be done into concentric layers. It comprises five layers as well as 3 cross layers which include the following.


The five layers in the architecture are:

  • Application Layer
  • Transport Layer
  • Network Layer
  • Data Link Layer
  • Physical Layer

The three cross layers include the following:

  • Power Management Plane
  • Mobility Management Plane
  • Task Management Plane

These three cross layers are mainly used for controlling the network as well as to make the sensors function as one in order to enhance the overall network efficiency. The above mentioned five layers of WSN are discussed below.

Wireless Sensor Network Architecture
Wireless Sensor Network Architecture

Application Layer

The application layer is liable for traffic management and offers software for numerous applications that convert the data in a clear form to find positive information. Sensor networks arranged in numerous applications in different fields such as agricultural, military, environment, medical, etc.

Transport Layer

The function of the transport layer is to deliver congestion avoidance and reliability where a lot of protocols intended to offer this function are either practical on the upstream. These protocols use dissimilar mechanisms for loss recognition and loss recovery. The transport layer is exactly needed when a system is planned to contact other networks.

Providing a reliable loss recovery is more energy-efficient and that is one of the main reasons why TCP is not fit for WSN. In general, Transport layers can be separated into Packet driven, Event-driven. There are some popular protocols in the transport layer namely STCP (Sensor Transmission Control Protocol), PORT (Price-Oriented Reliable Transport Protocol and PSFQ (pump slow fetch quick).

Network Layer

The main function of the network layer is routing, it has a lot of tasks based on the application, but actually, the main tasks are in the power conserving, partial memory, buffers, and sensor don’t have a universal ID and have to be self-organized.

The simple idea of the routing protocol is to explain a reliable lane and redundant lanes, according to a convincing scale called a metric, which varies from protocol to protocol. There are a lot of existing protocols for this network layer, they can be separated into; flat routing and hierarchal routing or can be separated into time-driven, query-driven & event-driven.

Data Link Layer

The data link layer is liable for multiplexing data frame detection, data streams, MAC, & error control, confirm the reliability of point–point (or) point– multipoint.

Physical Layer

The physical layer provides an edge for transferring a stream of bits above the physical medium. This layer is responsible for the selection of frequency, generation of a carrier frequency, signal detection, Modulation & data encryption. IEEE 802.15.4 is suggested as typical for low rate particular areas & wireless sensor networks with low cost, power consumption, density, the range of communication to improve the battery life. CSMA/CA is used to support star & peer to peer topology. There are several versions of IEEE 802.15.4.V.

The main benefits of using this kind of architecture in WSN is that every node involves simply in less-distance, low- power transmissions to the neighboring nodes due to which power utilization is low as compared with other kinds of sensor network architecture. This kind of network is scalable as well as includes a high fault tolerance.

Clustered Network Architecture

In this kind of architecture, separately sensor nodes add into groups known as clusters which depend on the “Leach Protocol” because it uses clusters. The term ‘Leach Protocol’ stands for “Low Energy Adaptive Clustering Hierarchy”. The main properties of this protocol mainly include the following.

Clustered Network Architecture
Clustered Network Architecture
  • This is a two-tier hierarchy clustering architecture.
  • This distributed algorithm is used to arrange the sensor nodes into groups, known as clusters.
  • In every cluster which is formed separately, the head nodes of the cluster will create the TDMA (Time-division multiple access) plans.
  • It uses the Data Fusion concept so that it will make the network energy efficient.

This kind of network architecture is extremely used due to the data fusion property. In every cluster, every node can interact through the head of the cluster to get the data. All the clusters will share their collected data toward the base station. The formation of a cluster, as well as its head selection in each cluster, is an independent as well as autonomous distributed method.

Design Issues of Wireless Sensor Network Architecture

The design issues of wireless sensor network architecture mainly include the following.

  • Energy Consumption
  •  Localization
  • Coverage
  • Clocks
  • Computation
  • Cost of Production
  • Design of Hardware
  • Quality of Service

Energy Consumption

In WSN, power consumption is one of the main issues. As an energy source, the battery is used by equipping with sensor nodes. The sensor network is arranged within dangerous situations so it turns complicated for changing otherwise recharging batteries. The energy consumption mainly depends on the sensor nodes’ operations like communication, sensing & data processing. Throughout communication, the energy consumption is very high. So, energy consumption can be avoided at every layer by using efficient routing protocols.


For the operation of the network, the basic, as well as critical problem, is sensor localization. So sensor nodes are arranged in an ad-hoc manner so they don’t know about their location. The difficulty of determining the sensor’s physical location once they have been arranged is known as localization. This difficulty can be resolved through GPS, beacon nodes, localization based on proximity.


The sensor nodes in the wireless sensor network utilize a coverage algorithm for detecting data as well as transmit them to sink through the routing algorithm. To cover the whole network, the sensor nodes should be chosen. There efficient methods like least and highest exposure path algorithms as well as coverage design protocol are recommended.


In WSN, clock synchronization is a serious service. The main function of this synchronization is to offer an ordinary timescale for the nodes of local clocks within sensor networks. These clocks must be synchronized within some applications like monitoring as well as tracking.


The computation can be defined as the sum of data that continues through each node. The main issue within computation is that it must reduce the utilization of resources. If the life span of the base station is more dangerous, then data processing will be completed at each node before data transmitting toward the base station. At every node, if we have some resources then the whole computation should be done at the sink.

Production Cost

In WSN, the large number of sensor nodes is arranged. So if the single node price is very high then the overall network price will also be high. Ultimately, the price of each sensor node has to be kept less. So the price of every sensor node within the wireless sensor network is a demanding problem.

Hardware Design

When designing any sensor network’s hardware like power control, micro-controller & communication unit must be energy-efficient. Its design can be done in such a way that it uses low-energy.

Quality of Service

The quality of service or QoS is nothing but, the data must be distributed in time. Because some of the real-time sensor-based applications mainly depend on time. So if the data is not distributed on time toward the receiver then the data will turn useless. In WSNs, there are different types of QoS issues like network topology that may modify frequently as well as the accessible state of information used for routing can be imprecise.

Structure of a Wireless Sensor Network

The structure of WSN mainly comprises various topologies used for radio communications networks like a star, mesh, and hybrid star. These topologies are discussed below in brief.

Star Network

The communication topology like a star network is used wherever only the base station can transmit or receive a message toward remote nodes. There is a number of nodes are available which are not allowed to transmit messages to each other. The benefits of this network mainly comprise simplicity, capable of keeping the power utilization of remote nodes to a minimum.

It also lets communications with less latency among the base station as well as a remote node. The main drawback of this network is that the base station should be in the range of radio for all the separate nodes. It is not robust like other networks because it depends on a single node to handle the network.

Mesh Network

This kind of network permits to the transmission of the data from one node to another within the network that is in the range of radio transmission. If a node needs to transmit a message to another node and that is out of radio communications range, then it can utilize a node like an intermediate to send the message toward the preferred node.

The main benefit of a mesh network is scalability as well as redundancy. When an individual node stops working, a remote node can converse to any other type of node within the range, then forwards the message toward the preferred location. Additionally, the network range is not automatically restricted through the range among single nodes; it can extend simply by adding a number of nodes to the system.

The main drawback of this kind of network is power utilization for the network nodes that execute the communications like multi-hop are usually higher than other nodes that don’t have this capacity of limiting the life of battery frequently. Moreover, when the number of communication hops increases toward a destination, then the time taken to send the message will also increase, particularly if the low power process of the nodes is a necessity.

Hybrid Star – Mesh Network

A hybrid among the two networks like star and mesh provides a strong and flexible communications network while maintaining the power consumption of wireless sensor nodes to a minimum. In this kind of network topology, the sensor nodes with less power are not allowed to transmit the messages.
This permits to maintenance least power utilization.

But, other network nodes are allowed with the capability of multi-hop by allowing them to transmit messages from one node to another on the network. Usually, the nodes with the multi-hop capacity have high power and are frequently plugged into the mains line. This is the implemented topology through the upcoming standard mesh networking called ZigBee.

Structure of a Wireless Sensor Node

The components used to make a wireless sensor node are different units like sensing, processing, transceiver & power. It also includes additional components that depend on an application like a power generator, a location finding system & a mobilizer. Generally, sensing units include two subunits namely ADCs as well as sensors. Here sensors generate analog signals which can be changed to digital signals with the help of ADC, after that it transmits to the processing unit.

Generally, this unit can be associated through a tiny storage unit to handle the actions to make the sensor node work with the other nodes to achieve the allocated sensing tasks. The sensor node can be connected to the network with the help of a transceiver unit. In the sensor node, one of the essential components is a sensor node. The power-units are supported through power scavenge units like solar cells whereas the other subunits depend on the application.

A wireless sensing nodes functional block diagram is shown above. These modules give a versatile platform to deal with the requirements of wide applications. For instance, based on the sensors to be arranged, the replacement of signal conditioning block can be done. This permits to use of different sensors along with the wireless sensing node. Likewise, the radio link can be exchanged for a specified application.

Characteristics of Wireless Sensor Network

The characteristics of WSN include the following.

  • The consumption of Power limits for nodes with batteries
  • Capacity to handle node failures
  • Some mobility of nodes and Heterogeneity of nodes
  • Scalability to a large scale of distribution
  • Capability to ensure strict environmental conditions
  • Simple to use
  • Cross-layer design

Advantages of Wireless Sensor Networks

The advantages of WSN include the following

  • Network arrangements can be carried out without immovable infrastructure.
  • Apt for the non-reachable places like mountains, over the sea, rural areas, and deep forests.
  • Flexible if there is a casual situation when an additional workstation is required.
  • Execution pricing is inexpensive.
  • It avoids plenty of wiring.
  • It might provide accommodations for the new devices at any time.
  • It can be opened by using centralized monitoring.

Wireless Sensor Network Applications

Wireless sensor networks may comprise numerous different types of sensors like low sampling rate, seismic, magnetic, thermal, visual, infrared, radar, and acoustic, which are clever to monitor a wide range of ambient situations. Sensor nodes are used for constant sensing, event ID, event detection & local control of actuators. The applications of wireless sensor networks mainly include health, military, environmental, home, & other commercial areas.

sWSN Applications
WSN Application
  • Military Applications
  • Health Applications
  • Environmental Applications
  • Home Applications
  • Commercial Applications
  • Area monitoring
  • Health care monitoring
  • Environmental/Earth sensings
  • Air pollution monitoring
  • Forest fire detection
  • Landslide detection
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Industrial monitoring

Thus, this is all about what is a wireless sensor network, wireless sensor network architecture, characteristics, and applications. We hope that you have hot a better understanding of this concept. Furthermore, any queries or to know about wireless sensor network project ideas, please give your valuable suggestions by commenting in the comment section below. Here is a question for you, what are the different types of wireless sensor networks?

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