Today Wireless Sensor Networks are playing an increasingly significant role in providing many services of critical importance to Canada. Sensor network services include amongst others environmental monitoring, emergency preparedness, infrastructure performance, vehicular traffic monitoring, transportation safety support and biomedicine. The provision of these services mandates wireless as the technology of choice to provide the necessary communications capabilities in real time across differing geographical boundaries, which in many cases could be very hostile. In a typical sensor network a large number of different sensor nodes are employed to serve specific applications. At one extreme, sensor nodes measure simple parameters such as temperature, vibration, humidity and presence of chemical substances. At the other extreme are video devices recording and transmitting real-time video and would therefore need significant bandwidth and advanced communications capabilities. Architecturally, nodes in a sensor network are able to communicate with each other or directly with a host gateway node within a defined range dependent on their type. In a heterogeneous sensor network (as opposed to homogeneous) different types of sensor nodes are employed to support different applications. The topic of this proposal is wireless heterogeneous sensor networks to serve the e-Society coined “WiSense”.

The architecture of a WiSense network (see Figure) must be scalable, modular, reliable, secure and cost effective in order to meet the increasing variety of applications. WiSense research targets defining and addressing challenges facing designers establishing wireless heterogeneous sensor networks.  The focus will be on selected applications such as telemedicine, home security, intelligent vehicular systems and emergency preparedness and response. Depending on the application, one or more wireless network technologies, such WiMax, WiFi, ad hoc networks, along with wireless mesh, internet and cellular systems could be deployed.

A wireless sensor network is composed of a large number of sensor nodes, which are densely deployed either inside the phenomenon or very close to it. The position of nodes need not be engineered or pre-determined. This allows random deployment in inaccessible terrains or disaster relief operation.


In recent years, advances in miniaturization; low-power circuit design; simple, low power, yet reasonably efficient wireless communication equipment; and improved small-scale energy supplies have combined with reduced manufacturing costs to make it possible to realize the new technological vision of wireless sensor networks.

The objective of this project is to develop and facilitate the use of scalable and modular wireless heterogeneous sensor networks in the e-Society. The focus will be on a selected number of applications such as telemedicine, home security and vehicular system applications. The development of new power-aware mechanisms and protocols for wireless sensor networks would constitute an important part of this project. These would be in the form of power aware routing protocols, medium access control (MAC) protocols along with or without the use of directional antennas. Performance evaluation of the application software together with power aware mechanisms, reliability and security issues will be carried out analytically, using simulation and modeling, and experimentally using a scalable and modular wireless sensor network testbed. Also performance evaluation of selected sensors, and in particular the video face recognition system, will be carried out along with the internetworking of wireless Wifi, Wimax and sensor network interfaces in a mesh and ad hoc network environment.


WiSense is supported by a grant from the Government of Ontario. Click HERE to visit the website of the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.


University of Ottawa is the Lead Institution managing the WiSense Project