A smart grid is one of the most important applications in smart cities. In a smart grid, a smart meter acts as a sensor node in a sensor network, and a central device collects power usage from every smart meter. This paper focuses on a centralized data collection problem of how to collect every power usage from every meter without collisions in an environment in which the time synchronization among smart meters is not guaranteed. To solve the problem, we divide a tree that a sensor network constructs into several branches. A conflict-free query schedule is generated based on the branches. Each power usage is collected according to the schedule. The proposed method has important features: shortening query processing time and avoiding collisions between a query and query responses. We evaluate this method using the ns-2 simulator. The experimental results show that this method can achieve both collision avoidance and fast query processing at the same time. The success rate of data collection at a sink node executing this method is 100%. Its running time is about 35 percent faster than that of the round-robin method, and its memory size is reduced to about 10% of that of the depth-first search method.
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