In a wireless sensor network (WSN), many applications have limited energy resources for data transmission. In order to accomplish a better green communication for WSN, a hybrid energy scheme can supply a more reliable energy source. In this article, hybrid energy utilization—which consists of constant energy source and solar harvested energy—is considered for WSN. To minimize constant energy usage from the hybrid source, a Markov decision process (MDP) is designed to find the optimal transmission policy. With a finite packet buffer and a finite battery size, an MDP model is presented to define the states, actions, state transition probabilities, and the cost function including the cost values for all actions. A weighted sum of constant energy source consumption and a packet dropping probability (PDP) are adopted as the cost value, enabling us to find the optimal solution for balancing the minimization of the constant energy source utilization and the PDP using a value iteration algorithm. As shown in the simulation results, the performance of optimal solution using MDP achieves a significant improvement compared to solution without its use.
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