Underwater acoustic sensor networks (UASNs) have become a hot research topic. In UASNs, nodes can be affected by ocean currents and external forces, which could result in sudden link disruption. Therefore, designing a flexible and efficient link disruption restoration mechanism to ensure the network connectivity is a challenge. In the paper, we propose a glider-assisted restoration mechanism which includes link disruption recognition and related link restoring mechanism. In the link disruption recognition mechanism, the cluster heads collect the link disruption information and then schedule gliders acting as relay nodes to restore the disrupted link. Considering the glider’s sawtooth motion, we design a relay location optimization algorithm with a consideration of both the glider’s trajectory and acoustic channel attenuation model. The utility function is established by minimizing the channel attenuation and the optimal location of glider is solved by a multiplier method. The glider-assisted restoration mechanism can greatly improve the packet delivery rate and reduce the communication energy consumption and it is more general for the restoration of different link disruption scenarios. The simulation results show that glider-assisted restoration mechanism can improve the delivery rate of data packets by 15–33% compared with cooperative opportunistic routing (OVAR), the hop-by-hop vector-based forwarding (HH-VBF) and the vector based forward (VBF) methods, and reduce communication energy consumption by 20–58% for a typical network’s setting.
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