A Master of Science Thesis in Computer Engineering Submitted by Hiba Al-Zurba entitled, "Optimal Routing Protocol in Multimedia Wireless Sensor Networks," January 2011. Available are both soft and hard copies of the thesis.
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) have attracted research interest in recent years due to the significance of the field of applications and the advances in sensor technology. In areas where catastrophic events occur such as environmental disasters and battle fields, the network infrastructure is lost and there is an urgent need to build a network in order to monitor the area and to help in rescue operations or troops deployment. An easy and fast way is to scatter scalar and video sensor nodes in an adhoc manner in the area of interest in order to establish a multimedia wireless sensor network (MWSN). Video sensor nodes provide better coverage of the area and enhance the interpretation of the monitored phenomenon. Two main challenges faced in MWSNs are quality of service (QoS) constraints in addition to energy constraints. Many routing protocols with various routing metrics have been developed for WSNs. However, limited research has been done on MWSN routing protocols and there is room for improvement in this area. Moreover, these routing protocols assume structured network architecture where deployment of nodes is pre-planned. Limited research has been done on routing protocol for MWSN deployed in ad-hoc manner that meets QoS requirements and at the same time considers energy efficiency for the purpose of prolonging the lifetime of the network. In this thesis, an optimal routing protocol is developed for MWSN that is energy-aware and QoS-aware. This routing protocol uses ant colony optimization to find the optimal routing path that maximizes the end-to-end path quality and reliability as well as the network lifetime. End-to-end delay is a constraint set depending on the application used. Each metric used in the path cost can be attributed an importance that varies depending on the application requirements. A simulation model is developed to implement the proposed ant colony optimization algorithm in MWSN. A detailed analysis of various parameters used in ant colony optimization is performed. The proposed algorithm is analyzed and its performance is evaluated. The proposed routing protocol not only provides an optimal path in terms of the QoS and energy metrics but it also has the flexibility to be used in various applications by adjusting the weights for the optimal path metrics based on their importance to the application.