Cross-layer design of distributed sensing-estimation with quality feedback - Part I: Optimal schemes

Nicolo Michelusi, Urbashi Mitra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This two-part paper presents a feedback-based cross-layer framework for distributed sensing and estimation of a dynamic process by a wireless sensor network (WSN). Sensor nodes wirelessly communicate measurements to the fusion center (FC). Cross-layer factors such as packet collisions and the sensing-transmission costs are considered. Each SN adapts its sensing-transmission action based on its own local observation quality and the estimation quality feedback from the FC under cost constraints for each SN. In this first part, the optimization complexity is reduced by exploiting the statistical symmetry and large network approximation of the WSN. Structural properties of the optimal policy are derived for a coordinated and a decentralized scheme. It is proved that a dense WSN provides sensing diversity, so that only a few SNs with the best local observation quality need to be activated, despite the fluctuations of the WSN. The optimal policy dictates that, when the estimation quality is poor, only the best SNs activate, otherwise all SNs remain idle to preserve energy. The costs of coordination and feedback are evaluated, revealing the scalability of the decentralized scheme to large WSNs, at the cost of performance degradation. Simulation results demonstrate cost savings from 30% to 70% over a non-adaptive scheme, and significant gains over a previously proposed estimator which does not consider these cross-layer factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7001697
Pages (from-to)1228-1243
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed estimation
  • Markov decision processes
  • cross-layer optimization
  • wireless networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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