A framework of joint mobile energy replenishment and data gathering in wireless rechargeable sensor networks

Miao Zhao, Ji Li, Yuanyuan Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

224 Citations (Scopus)


Recent years have witnessed the rapid development and proliferation of techniques on improving energy efficiency for wireless s'ensor networks. Although these techniques can relieve the energy constraint on wireless sensors to some extent, the lifetime of wireless sensor networks is still limited by sensor batteries. Recent studies have shown that energy rechargeable sensors have the potential to provide perpetual network operations by capturing renewable energy from external environments. However, the low output of energy capturing devices can only provide intermittent recharging opportunities to support low-rate data services due to spatial-temporal, geographical or environmental factors. To provide steady and high recharging rates and achieve energy efficient data gathering from sensors, in this paper, we propose to utilize mobility for joint energy replenishment and data gathering. In particular, a multi-functional mobile entity, called SenCar in this paper, is employed, which serves not only as a mobile data collector that roams over the field to gather data via short-range communication but also as an energy transporter that charges static sensors on its migration tour via wireless energy transmissions. Taking advantages of SenCar's controlled mobility, we focus on the joint optimization of effective energy charging and high-performance data collections. We first study this problem in general networks with random topologies. We give a two-step approach for the joint design. In the first step, the locations of a subset of sensors are periodically selected as anchor points, where the SenCar will sequentially visit to charge the sensors at these locations and gather data from nearby sensors in a multi-hop fashion. To achieve a desirable balance between energy replenishment amount and data gathering latency, we provide a selection algorithm to search for a maximum number of anchor points where sensors hold the least battery energy, and meanwhile by visiting them, the tour length of the SenCar is no more than a threshold. In the second step, we consider data gathering performance when the SenCar migrates among these anchor points. We formulate the problem into a network utility maximization problem and propose a distributed algorithm to adjust data rates at which sensors send buffered data to the SenCar, link scheduling and flow routing so as to adapt to the up-to-date energy replenishing status of sensors. Besides general networks, we also study a special scenario where sensors are regularly deployed. For this case we can provide a simplified solution of lower complexity by exploiting the symmetry of the topology. Finally, we validate the effectiveness of our approaches by extensive numerical results, which show that our solutions can achieve perpetual network operations and provide high network utility.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6747349
Pages (from-to)2689-2705
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • mobile data gathering
  • mobile energy replenishment
  • network utility
  • wireless energy transmission
  • Wireless rechargeable sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A framework of joint mobile energy replenishment and data gathering in wireless rechargeable sensor networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this