On the interdependence of routing and data compression in multi-hop sensor networks

Anna Scaglione, Sergio Servetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We consider a problem of broadcast communication in sensor networks, in which samples of a random field are collected at each node, and the goal is for all nodes to obtain an estimate of the entire field within a prescribed distortion value. The main idea we explore in this paper is that of jointly compressing the data generated by different nodes as this information travels over multiple hops, to eliminate correlations in the representation of the sampled field. Our main contributions are: (a) we obtain, using simple network flow concepts, conditions on the rate/distortion function of the random field, so as to guarantee that any node can obtain the measurements collected at every other node in the network, quantized to within any prescribed distortion value; and (b) we construct a large class of physically-motivated stochastic models for sensor data, for which we are able to prove that the joint rate/distortion function of all the data generated by the whole network grows slower than the bounds found in (a). A truly novel aspect of our work is the tight coupling between routing and source coding, explicitly formulated in a simple and analytically tractable model - to the best of our knowledge, this connection had not been studied before.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalWireless Networks
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-layer interactions
  • Multi-hop sensor networks
  • Routing
  • Source coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'On the interdependence of routing and data compression in multi-hop sensor networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this