Telecommunication Systems

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 11–26 | Cite as

An unequal cluster-based routing scheme for multi-level heterogeneous wireless sensor networks

  • Liu Yang
  • Yin-Zhi Lu
  • Yuan-Chang Zhong
  • Simon X. Yang


In wireless sensor networks (WSNs), clustering can significantly reduce energy dissipation of nodes, and also increase communication load of cluster heads. When multi-hop communication model is adopted in clustering, “energy hole” problem may occur due to unbalanced energy consumption among cluster heads. Recently, many multi-hop clustering protocols have been proposed to solve this problem. And the main way is using unequal clustering to control the size of clusters. However, many of these protocols are about homogeneous networks and few are about heterogeneous networks. In this paper, we present an unequal cluster-based routing scheme for WSNs with multi-level energy heterogeneity called UCR-H. The sensor field is partitioned into a number of equal-size rectangular units. We first calculate the number of clusters in each unit by balancing energy consumption among the cluster heads in different units. And then we find the optimal number of units by minimizing the total energy consumption of inter-cluster forwarding. Finally, the size of clusters in each unit is elaborately designed based on node’s energy level and the number of clusters in this unit. And a threshold is also designed to avoid excessive punishment to the nodes with higher energy level. Simulation results show that our scheme effectively mitigates the “energy hole” problem and achieves an obvious improvement on the network lifetime.


Wireless sensor networks Unequal clustering Heterogeneity Network lifetime Energy hole 



Funding was provided by the Scientific and Technological Project of Chongqing (Grant No. CSTC2012gg-yyjs40010).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liu Yang
    • 1
  • Yin-Zhi Lu
    • 2
  • Yuan-Chang Zhong
    • 3
  • Simon X. Yang
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Communication and Information EngineeringChongqing University of Posts and TelecommunicationsChongqingChina
  2. 2.School of Electronic Information EngineeringYangtze Normal UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.College of Communication EngineeringChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  4. 4.The Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory, School of EngineeringUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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