Multi-Input Multi-Output (MIMO) can improve wireless network performance. Sensors are usually single-antenna devices due to the high hardware complexity and cost, so several sensors are used to form virtual MIMO array, which is a desirable approach to efficiently take advantage of MIMO gains. Also, in large Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), clustering can improve the network scalability, which is an effective topology control approach. The existing virtual MIMO-based clustering schemes do not either fully explore the benefits of MIMO or adaptively determine the clustering ranges. Also, clustering mechanism needs to be further improved to enhance the cluster structure life. In this paper, we propose an improved clustering scheme for virtual MIMO-based topology construction (ICV-MIMO), which can determine adaptively not only the inter-cluster transmission modes but also the clustering ranges. Through the rational division of cluster head function and the optimization of cluster head selection criteria and information exchange process, the ICV-MIMO scheme effectively reduces the network energy consumption and improves the lifetime of the cluster structure when compared with the existing typical virtual MIMO-based scheme. Moreover, the message overhead and time complexity are still in the same order of magnitude.
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