Autonomic and embedded wireless sensor protocols for critical infrastructures

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Niki Pissinou

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Berrin Tansel

Third Advisor's Name

Osama Mohammed

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kang Yen

Fifth Advisor's Name

Kia Makki

Date of Defense



The tragic events of September 11th ushered a new era of unprecedented challenges. Our nation has to be protected from the alarming threats of adversaries. These threats exploit the nation's critical infrastructures affecting all sectors of the economy. There is the need for pervasive monitoring and decentralized control of the nation's critical infrastructures.

The communications needs of monitoring and control of critical infrastructures was traditionally catered for by wired communication systems. These technologies ensured high reliability and bandwidth but are however very expensive, inflexible and do not support mobility and pervasive monitoring. The communication protocols are Ethernet-based that used contention access protocols which results in high unsuccessful transmission and delay. An emerging class of wireless networks, named embedded wireless sensor and actuator networks has potential benefits for real-time monitoring and control of critical infrastructures. The use of embedded wireless networks for monitoring and control of critical infrastructures requires secure, reliable and timely exchange of information among controllers, distributed sensors and actuators, The exchange of information is over shared wireless media. However, wireless media is highly unpredictable due to path loss, shadow fading and ambient noise. Monitoring and control applications have stringent requirements on reliability, delay and security. The primary issue addressed in this dissertation is the impact of wireless media in harsh industrial environment on the reliable and timely delivery of critical data.

In the first part of the dissertation, a combined networking and information theoretic approach was adopted to determine the transmit power required to maintain a minimum wireless channel capacity for reliable data transmission. The second part described a channel-aware scheduling scheme that ensured efficient utilization of the wireless link and guaranteed delay. Various analytical evaluations and simulations are used to evaluate and validate the feasibility of the methodologies and demonstrate that the protocols achieved reliable and real-time data delivery in wireless industrial networks.



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