Planning WSN Site Surveys for 6LoWPAN Deployments: Application Note
From: Patrick Grossetete
Last updated: September 24th, 2008
With the increased market adoption and deployments of 6LoWPAN Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), network managers increasingly need to take into consideration the importance of site surveys. A site survey is a process used to detect the presence of interference coming from other radio sources in a defined deployment area. Site surveys should be done before and after the installation to ensure the most appropriate frequency channel is selected for a given WSN. In addition, site surveys may be used to determine the best location and number for 6LoWPAN nodes in a WSN.
Performance degradation or intermittent broken network connections may result from interference and high bit error rate (BER). This is particularly true in the unregulated Industrial/Scientific/Medical (ISM) 2.4GHz band, where IEEE 802.15.4/6LoWPAN and 802.11b/g/n (WiFi) devices operate. Additionally, it should be understood that other electronic gear—such as a security camera, cordless phone, microwave oven, amateur radio, wireless USB mouse, video transmitter, RFID reader and others—running in the same band, may add to the interference. Images show the 2.4GHz RF signatures as supported by MetaGeek Chanalyzer* 3.1 release (http://www.metageek.net/docs/chanalyzer3-user-guide/signatures). The RF signature of a 6LoWPAN node has the same signature as the ZigBee* node because they use similar physical layer chipsets.
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