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Daniel Mihai Toma

Ph.D. Thesis title:
Advances in the Interoperability in Wireless Sensor Networks for Smart Transmission Grid

Author:
Daniel Mihai Toma

Director:
Antoni Mànuel Lazaro i Joaquin del Rio Fernández

Reading date:
09/11/2012

Abstract:
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are an excellent choice for enhancing various aspects of today’s electric power systems, including generation, delivery and utilization, making them a vital component of the next-generation electric power system, the smart grid. WSNs generally consist of small devices deployed in an area to perform a task through coordination and communication. The current paradigm in sensor networks promotes isolated networks with statically tasked nodes; this hinders the potential for applications to harness the power of fused data from multiple types of sensor nodes. Furthermore, although WSNs subsist in a dynamic environment, the tasks of the nodes are generally static and therefore cannot adapt to changes in application requirements. This thesis aims at addressing these issues and, by using standard transducers interface technology, render WSNs interoperable.

Our research has led to the introduction of a new bidirectional wireless communication scheme for devices with short-range transmission capabilities for linear WSNs based on the High-Level Data Link Control (HDLC) ISO/IEC-13239 standard. By applying the HDLC standard data layer along with a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)-based Medium Access Control (MAC) specifically designed for the linear topology, this research addresses the problem of interoperability for linear WSNs with energy constraints, and  also supports half duplex communication, point to point (peer to peer) and multi-point networking.

Moreover, this research introduces the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) PUCK standard for wireless sensors, which helps to automate the configuration process between individual nodes, wireless networks and applications. In order to do this, PUCK protocol defines a method to obtain information related to the instrument (metadata) in a standard way.

Clock synchronization between nodes is a key factor in minimizing the power consumption invested in data transmission and reception. Research in this field has been carried out in order to apply novel synchronization techniques with current synchronization standards such as Precision Time Protocol IEEE Std. 1588 over IEEE 802.15.4 RF communications link. The use of WSNs as distributed data acquisition systems is directly linked to concepts such as energy consumption, autonomy, and environmental energy harvesting. For this reason, part of the thesis work has been devoted to the study of energy scavenging in the transmission grid. Finally, as a proof-of-concept, a prototype of WSN has been implemented using the proposed harvesting device and communication and synchronization protocols for improving network interoperability.