35190 - Wireless Sensor Networks M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

This course shortly introduces to wireless communications and the main applications of WSNs; it aims at describing those wireless technologies enabling the deployment of WSNs. After a theoretical part discussing the impact of the radio environment, energy constraints and the basic elements of data aggregation techniques, laboratory activities will follow where students will use wireless devices and will realise and test the performance of WSNs in realistic environments.

Course contents

The course is divided into three parts: 1) Theoretical part; 2) Laboratory sessions; 3) Seminars on case studies.

In the first part (approx. 25 hours) lectures will be dedicated to present the WSN protocols to be used at the different layers, which are physical, medium access control (MAC), network and application layers. Main focus will be on MAC and network layer protocols, where some guidelines for the design will be given.

In the laboratory sessions (approx. 25 hours, starting from middle Oct.) is concerned students will have possibility to program MC1322 Freescale 802.15.4-compliant devices in order to setup a real WSN. On one hand, the laboratory activities will consist in the observation of the network behavior (e.g., network formation, data transmission, etc.) and measurement of some performance metrics (e.g., throughput and delays). On the other hand, students will have the opportunity to implement their own applications and measure performance metrics when considering different parameter settings.

The third part (approx. 10 hours) seminars, dealing with some research hot topics and applications, like smart city, smart buildings and smart manufacturing, will be presented.


The following textbooks are highly recommended:

Textbook 1: Josè A. Gutierrez, Edgar H. Callaway, Raymond L. Barrett, "Low-Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks - Enabling Wireless Sensors with IEEE 802.15.4", Ed. IEEE. Send an email to Prof. Buratti to requested the book.

Testbook 2: Shahin Farahani, "ZigBee Wireless Networks and Transceivers", 2008, Elsevier Ltd. Send an email to Prof. Buratti to requested the book.

The following textbooks could be useful to deepen:

Textbook 3: R. Verdone, D. Dardari, G. Mazzini, A. Conti, "Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks - Technologies, Analysis, Design", Ed. Elsevier. Send an email to Prof. Buratti to requested the book.

Textbook 4: C. Buratti, M. Martalò, R. Verdone, G. Ferrari, "Distributed Processing, MAC, and Connectivity in Sensor Networks with Application to IEEE 802.15.4 Systems". Ed. Springer, Germania, 2011. Send an email to Prof. Buratti to requested the book.

Suggested book for students without background on telecommunications signal and systems: A. Bruce Carlson, "Communication Systems: An Introduction to Signals and Noise in Electrical Communication", ed. by Mcraw-Hill International Editions. The following Sections are those useful to follow the course: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3. Send an email to Prof. Buratti to requested the book.

Slides of the course will be available on IOL (https://iol.unibo.it/)

Teaching methods

Chalk and Talk - approx. 25 hours

Lab sessions (performed in groups of maximum 3 people) - approx. 25 hours

Problem and Enquiry sessions - approx. 10 hours

Assessment methods

“On line” Mode. This is for students following the course and coming to the exam before end of February 2019. The exam will be composed of: 1) one intermediate test including 2 exercises (one on PHY and one on MAC layers) to be performed in class (notes available, result: passed/ not passed); 2) one homework (design of a WSN, accounting for PHY, MAC and NET layers aspects), assigned at the end of the course, to be performed at home and to be delivered one week before the oral exam; 3) oral exam. The oral is divided into two parts: i) discussion of the homework (point 2 above) and one question on the network layer part of the couse; ii) 10 minutes presentation (with power point slides) on the laboratory activity.

“Off line” Mode. This is for the following students: 1) students not following the course; 2) students not giving the exam before end of February 2019; 3) students who will not pass the intermidiate test of the "On line" Mode. Students have to deliver the homework solution (the same as descrived in point 2 above) one week before the oral exam. The oral is divided into three parts: i) one exercise on PHY and/or MAC (no notes available); ii) discussion of the delivered homework and one question on the network layer part of the couse; iii) 10 minutes presentation (with power point slides) on the laboratory activity.

The presentation of the lab activity could be based on: i) one of the activity performed in Lab1 during the course and the related measurement results OR ii) a project invented, devised and implemented by the students. The latter project could be performed in group of maximum 3 people.

The final mark will be based on the performance achieved during the oral exam (intermidiate test is just for getting access to the oral). The mark at the oral is derived as follows: starting from 30 and decreasing at each wrong reply. Laude is considered only for students presenting projects (option ii above) for the lab activity.

Teaching tools

Laboratory: Freescale 802.15.4-compliant devices, sniffers, PCs.

Theoretical part tools: Slides, books, scientific papers.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Chiara Buratti