Quality-of-service based framework for wireless sensor networks in precision agriculture applications
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Wireless Sensor networks (WSNs) are a growing technology in the world today, with the advancements in micro-electro mechanical technologies. With this surge in popularity of sensor networks technology comes the need to find areas for its application. Precision Agriculture (PA) is just one of many areas in which sensor networks are applied. The aim of precision agriculture is to improve productivity in agriculture practices by employing technology that maximizes resources and provides high quality of service (QoS). However, providing QoS in wireless sensor networks is not an easy task and researchers continue to seek better methods of achieving this endeavor. This work proposed a WSN focused on providing QoS in precision agriculture applications in maize farming by exploring conditions needed for improved maize production to selecting appropriate network parameters for WSN. The framework merges a web-based agriculture management application for maize production (AgriSensApp ), with a physical wireless sensor network to assure QoS for precision agriculture. A comparative QoS evaluation was carried out on two sensor network topo logies designed to provide a high QoS network backbone for the framework, a grid topology and a nonagonal geometric structured topology. The results of the evaluation showed the nonagon topology perform better than the grid topology when parameters such as throughput and packets dropped were considered. On the other hand, the grid topology performed better when the parameters considered were MAC delay and end-to-end delay. The overall contribution to research from this study was that providing QoS in sensor networks calls for trade-offs to be made on certain quality measures, and the choice of QoS measure must be made on the basis of which measures best suit the particular precision agriculture activity being conducted.