Wireless Sensor Networks Laboratory

Module Number: EI50471

Duration: 1 Semester

Occurence: Winter/summer semester

Language: English

Number of ECTS: 6


Professor in charge: Wolfgang Kellerer

Amount of work

Contact hours: 60

Self-studying hours: 120

Total: 180

Description of achievement and assessment methods

The modul exam consists of a oral exam on the practical exercises that are to be completed by the middle of the lecture (30%) and the assessment of the team projects (70%). The team project comprises the joint implementation of a project in the thematic context of the course, an expert presentation of the project by the students and a written project report (technical report incl. the documentation of the source code). The examination is intended to assess if the participating students achieved the formulated learning outcomes. In the exercises parts the practical application of the knowlegde has to be demonstrated.

Exam type: oral

Exam duration: 1 semester

Possibility of re-taking: In the next semester: Yes; at the end of the semester: No

Homework: Yes

Lecture: Yes

Conversation: Yes

Written paper: Yes

Recommended requirements

Mandatory requirements for participation are:

  • Programming skills in C, algorithms and data structures
  • Basic skills of Linux (IDEs and Tools for software development, shells, makefiles)

Optional requirements for participation are:

  • Basic knowledge of wireless communication
  • Basic knowledge of communication networks

The following modules should be completed before participation:

  • Programmierpraktikum C

It is recommended to additionally participate inn the following modules:



This lab on Wireless Sensor Networks offers students a theoretical and practical introduction to the concepts of wireless networks, focusing on sensor network aspects. The course consists of three different components:

  1. Lecture hours: Introduction and theory of wireless sensor nodes and networks, MAC layer protocols and routing algorithms
  2. Practical introduction to programming of sensor network nodes
  3. Hands-on sessions: implementation of a small-scale application of a wireless sensor network by the teams

In the course we use dedicated sensor node hardware. In small groups of two students each the participants will first have the opportunity to familiarize with the sensor hardware during several hours of introductory programming sessions in the first phase of the course. In the second phase of the course each group applies the acquired knowledge by realizing an individual project using the available sensor hardware.

Study goals

After the participation in the lecture and tutorial students should be able to:

  • Explain and discuss the basic concepts of wireless sensor network nodes and networks
  • Provide an overview on MAC layer protocols and routing algorithms and to discuss their properties
  • Implement simpler protocols and algorithms on their own on the course hardware and software platforms
  • Program simple software programs in C/C++ and use an integrated development environment (IDE) to develop, compile, test and run on the course hardware and software platforms

Teaching and learning methods

In addition to the individual methods of the students it will be required repeatedly that students implement and complete selected exercises  during the presence time of the lab for deepening of the contents and for knowledge creation. Assistance is available during the presence hours.

As teaching methods parts of the course will be held as lecture and parts will be completed as group work and as discussions. Practical examples with rising difficulty will be implemented by the students themselves, alone and in teams of 2 students.

Media formats

The following kinds of media are used:

  • Presentations (lecture) with slides
  • Hands-on demonstrators and platforms
  • Course Wiki
  • Notes and selected additional material, such as technical documentation and research papers


The following literature is recommended:

  • Holger Karl, Andres Willig: "Protocols and Architectures for Wireless Sensor Networks", ISBN 978-0-470-51923-3 (primary reference)
  • Feng Zhao, Leonidas Guibas: "Wireless Sensor Networks - An Information Processing Approach", ISBN 978-1-55860-914-3
  • Ivan Stojemenovic: "Handbook of Sensor Networks: Algorithms and Architectures". ISBN 978-0471684725
  • Jun Zheng, Abbas Jamalipour: "Wireless Sensor Networks - A Networking Perspective", ISBN 978-0470167632