In this article, we propose a model-based characterization of energy consumption in a software-defined wireless sensor network (SD-WSN) architecture in an effort to examine the implications for network performance when making the WSN reprogrammable. The proposed model consists of breaking down all key functions involved in the correct functioning of an SD-WSN, namely; neighbor discovery, neighbor advertisement, network configuration, and data collection. The model is analyzed from a multihop network perspective. We consider two static SD-WSN scenarios to examine scalability, and one scenario to assess the performance implications in a pseudo-dynamic SD-WSN. Extensive simulation results are presented regarding the control overhead introduced, the percentage of alive nodes and remaining energy, and the impacts on network lifetime. We show that the accumulated control overhead is inversely proportional to the interaction period with the controller, whereas the remaining energy and the network lifetime are directly proportional to this parameter. Results show that the control overhead, for static SD-WSNs, can take up to 10%-29% of the total data flowing to the controller for the large SD-WSN and 6-19% for the small SD-WSN. For a pseudo-dynamic network, the control overhead can take up to two-thirds of the total data sent to the controller, and the network lifetime was reduced by up to 80% compared with the static scenarios.
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