Staying Alive: System Design for Self-Sufficient Sensor Networks
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Self-sustainability is a crucial step for modern sensor networks. Here, we offer an original and comprehensive framework for autonomous sensor networks powered by renewable energy sources. We decompose our design into two nested optimization steps: the inner step characterizes the optimal network operating point subject to an average energy consumption constraint, while the outer step provides online energy management policies that make the system energetically self-sufficient in the presence of unpredictable and intermittent energy sources. Our framework sheds new light into the design of pragmatic schemes for the control of energy-harvesting sensor networks and permits to gauge the impact of key sensor network parameters, such as the battery capacity, the harvester size, the information transmission rate, and the radio duty cycle. We analyze the robustness of the obtained energy management policies in the cases where the nodes have differing energy inflow statistics and where topology changes may occur, devising effective heuristics. Our energy management policies are finally evaluated considering real solar radiation traces, validating them against state-of-the-art solutions, and describing the impact of relevant design choices in terms of achievable network throughput and battery-level dynamics.