Optimal number of clusters in dense wireless sensor networks: A cross-layer approach

Li-Chun Wang*, Chung Wei Wang, Chuan Ming Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Cluster-based sensor networks have the advantages of reducing energy consumption and link-maintenance cost. One fundamental issue in cluster-based sensor networks is determining the optimal number of clusters. In this paper, we suggest a physical (PHY)/medium access control (MAC)/network (NET) cross-layer analytical approach for determining the optimal number of clusters, with the objective of minimizing energy consumption in a high-density sensor network. Our cross-layer design can incorporate many effects, including lognormal shadowing and a two-slope path loss model in the PHY layer, various MAC scheduling, and multihop routing schemes. Compared with the base-line case with one cluster per observation area (OA), a sensor network with the proposed optimal number of clusters can reduce the energy consumption by more than 80% in some cases. We also verify by simulations that the analytical optimal cluster number can still effectively function, regardless of the different densities of sensors in various OAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-976
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Cross-layer design
  • Optimal number of clusters
  • Wireless sensor networks

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