WSN Book

Front cover of the book "Wireless Sensor Networks" by Anna Förster

Anna Förster

Introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks

ISBN: 978-1-118-99351-4
200 pages
July 2016, Wiley-IEEE Press
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Introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks

This page is the companion to the newly published book "Introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks" by Prof. Dr. Anna Förster. There is information for students and instructors.



If you are a student and you start working with this book, you need to check first three things: that you have sufficient C programming knowledge, that you have Contiki installed and running and that you have some sensor node hardware to play with.

Step 1. C programming knowledge.

It is often the case that you maybe learnt C, but this was ages ago, or that you know well other programming languages, but no C. In order to check whether you have sufficient knowledge to work with this book and program tiny applications and algorithms in Contiki yourself, you can do this test online on All you need to do is enter the test room number: X1FUCG0R

If you passed the test with more than 80%, you are ready to proceed to step 2. If not, here are some ideas of how to acquire the missing knowledge:

Learn C the hard way. Make sure you get to at least Exercise 20.


Step 2. Contiki

The oficial Contiki webpage is here. We advise you to download the virtual image from there, to start it in your machine and to run all available tutorials. Additionally, we have here a set of slides to teach you about Contiki:

i. Start (basics of Contiki)

ii. MAC Contiki (MAC layer in Contiki)

iii. MACContiki_Powertrace (For comparing two MAC layer protocols)

iv. Broadcast (broadcasting using RIME)

v. Collect-View (sensor acquisition using Collect-View Tool)

vi. Websense (using Sky-Websense of sensor data acquisition)

These slides have been prepared by Shantanoo Desai for ComNets in 2015-2016.


Step 3. Hardware

There are currently two good options for getting some hardware:

Zolertia Z1 - currently available and on stock

TelosB - mostly out of stock and availability, try to contact the sale department of Willow Technologies (click on the link)

AS and MTM series - a series of nodes based on the TelosB specification, but from AdvanticSys. There are differences among the nodes, such as different connectors, external antennas, etc. The node MTM CM5000 is a perfect clone of TelosB, while AS XM1000 has an upgraded EEPROM (memory). We suggest to get one of those, unless you expect very high interferences or long distances in your projects. In this case, we suggest to use the MTM CM5000-SMA. 

OpenMote - open source hardware, compliant with Contiki and some other operating systems. The mote is extensible with various antennas, buttons and sensors.

They are all comparable and all are supported by Contiki. If possible, buy at least two-three, best would be five. You can also consider borrowing them from a close-by university department. People would be wiling to borrow them, if you show real interest and willingness to do some proper work. Look for communication networks or embedded systems departments.



If you are a lecturer, you are welcome to use the following slide stacks (you can also modify them and reuse them in your lecture, always giving the proper credit). I will be happy to receive also an email from you, letting me know where you use them and whether you have some improvement suggestions: wsn-bookprotect me ?!comnets.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

We also have further exercises and project descriptions available, but only upon request via email.

You can also subscribe to our mailing list, which will send you messages if there are new materials or other changes/errata.  Once subscribed to the list, you will receive information on where to find the presentation slides.

Sample syllabus

I have also compiled a sample syllabus for a 4 ECTS course on  Wireless Sensor Networks, which you can find here. Please contact me in case of questions or ideas. I would love to hear form you if you use my book in your class!



If you discover an error, please signal it by email.

Chapter 3, Figure 3.10. Of course, there should be a way to send a packet after the random backoff. Thus, an arrow from random backoff to the checkpoint "packet to send?" should be added.