1.1 Background of Study
A Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) is a network that is composed of hundreds of sensor devices that communicate over wireless channels (Vijayan & Raaza, 2016). This communication is governed by unique routing protocols (Vijayan & Raaza, 2016). The sensors are equipped with data processing and communicating capabilities with a sensing circuitry that is able to sense environmental conditions such as temperature, pressure, humidity levels etc, and convert them to electrical signals. These conditions help to tell certain details about the surrounding environment. The sensors transmit their sensed data via an inbuilt transmitter as electromagnetic signals to a designated base station (BS) either directly (Akkaya & Younis, 2005) or through an intermediate node (Gupta et al., 2017). Network lifetime is an important metric in WSNs. It is the maximum period of time that sensor nodes (SNs) are alive after they have been deployed in the field (Jan et al., 2013). Network lifetime can also be defined in terms of first node death time, half of nodes alive and last node death (Wang et al., 2012).
1.3 Statement of Research Problem
Maximizing the limited energy of SNs is a major problem in WSNs. Protocols proposed in literature show that the problem of efficiently managing the energy of SNs in a WSN is as a result of inappropriate clustering schemes, inefficient CH selection algorithms and unbalanced load distribution in the network. The problem of unbalanced load distribution in the network can result in some SNs dying earlier than other SNs in the network. This results in sensor holes that limit the performance of the WSN. To further manage the limited energy of SNs in a WSN, this research work aimed at improving an existing multi-hop routing protocol by adopting a CH load balancing technique that considered residual energy (RE) of neighbor CHs to provide load 4 balance among CHs in the network. This technique resulted in improved network lifetime, energy consumption percentage and number of packets received at the BS.
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