Characterization of wireless smart sensor performance

Lauren E. Linderman, J. A. Rice, Suhail Barot, B. F. Spencer, J. T. Bernhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A critical aspect of using wireless sensors for structural health monitoring is communication performance. Unlike wired systems, data transfer is less reliable between wireless sensor nodes owing to data loss. While reliable communication protocols are typically used to reduce data loss, this increase in communication can drain already limited power resources. This paper provides an experimental investigation of the wireless communication characteristics of the Imote2 smart sensor platform; the presentation is tailored toward the end user, e.g., application engineers and researchers. Following a qualitative discussion of wireless communication and packet delivery, a quantitative characterization of wireless communication capabilities of the Imote2 platform, including an assessment of onboard and external antenna performance, is provided. Herein, the external antenna was found to significantly outperform the onboard antenna in both transmission and reception reliability. However, the built environment, including building materials and other wireless networks, can significantly reduce reception rate and thus increase packet loss. Finally, implications of these results for a full-scale implementation are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1435-1443
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Antennas
  • Communication
  • Monitoring
  • Probe instruments
  • Structural reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of wireless smart sensor performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this