Traditional distributed architectures are not sufficient when developing an autonomous, distributed sensor network. In order to be truly autonomous, a distributed sensor network must be able to survive and reconfigure in-the-field without manual intervention. A limitation of traditional distributed architectures, such as client/server or peer-to-peer, within an autonomous network is that the distributed devices and applications are tightly coupled by their communication protocols prior to implementation and deployment. The introduction of new devices and applications in the field is difficult due to this coupling. Also, autonomous reconfiguration of the devices on the network due to faults or addition of new devices is extremely difficult unless the devices are homogeneous.
A service-based architecture is proposed as an alternative architecture for creating autonomous, distributed sensor networks. The service-based approach provides the ability to create a scalable, self-configuring, and self-healing network for building and maintaining large, emerging and ad-hoc virtual networks of devices and applications. New devices can be automatically discovered by current devices on the network and automatically integrated into the system without manual intervention.
This paper will explain the benefits and limitations of applying a service-based architecture to autonomous, distributed sensor networks and compare this approach with traditional architectures such as client/server and peer-to-peer. A description will be given of a prototype system developed using service-enabled seismic, acoustic, and visual sensors.