CITS4419 Sensor Networks Lab (week 2)

Concepts and Preparation

This lab is designed to demonstrate the end-to-end process for sensor network deployments. You will deploy sensor nodes and a gateway, collect some data, and document the experiment.

Before the lab you should review the lecture for week 1 and read The hitchhiker's guide to successful wireless sensor network deployments (SenSys 2008). Both are available from the CITS4419 unit web page

Lab Tasks

  1. Choose a partner and get a climate sensor nodes (a Mannheim temperature-humidity sensor). Put batteries into the climate nodes and choose a measurement position. Record the details of your sensor (its ID and what is on the node) and also document the position where you deploy it.
  2. Choose a receiver node and connect it into a USB port on your computer. Or you can use a Raspberry Pi if you prefer. There are only a few receivers so groups will need to share. Start a terminal reader program such as Putty, TeraTerm or screen (on Macs). Set the baud rate to 9600 (or 115200 on one receiver - check the label). Then listen on the usb port for incoming messages.
  3. Once you have the receiver working, restart it and save incoming messages to a file.
  4. Once you have gathered a reasonable amount of data, download the data file(s) and analyse the messages you received. Write a lab report for your deployment covering the following points.
    • Document the sensor network deployment: describe the equipment used and all node positions.
    • What is the format of the packets received? What type of measurement do you think each column is reporting?
    • Describe the main characteristics of the temperature and humidity time series (eg. period, min, max, variability, smoothness)?
    • How much variation is there for the temperature and relative humidity between different positions in the building?
    • What range of channel receive signal strengths are seen? RSSI is the penultimate negative figure. It is measured in dBm.
    • What is the transmission range of the sensors? Try to move a sensor to a range where it can not be heard. Then move closer until the first distance it can be heard.
    • Characterise any correlation you can observe in the relationship between distance and signal strength?
    • Suggest which features of the building might affect the quality of the communications channel?
UWA Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering