Because of the complicated underwater environment, the efficiency of data transmission from underwater sensor nodes to a sink node (SN) is faced with great challenges. Aiming at the problem of energy consumption in underwater wireless sensor networks (UWSNs), this paper proposes an energy-efficient clustering routing algorithm based on an improved ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithm. In clustering routing algorithms, the network is divided into many clusters, and each cluster consists of one cluster head node (CHN) and several cluster member nodes (CMNs). This paper optimizes the CHN selection based on the residual energy of nodes and the distance factor. The selected CHN gathers data sent by the CMNs and transmits them to the sink node by multiple hops. Optimal multi-hop paths from the CHNs to the SN are found by an improved ACO algorithm. This paper presents the ACO algorithm through the improvement of the heuristic information, the evaporation parameter for the pheromone update mechanism, and the ant searching scope. Simulation results indicate the high effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed algorithm in reducing the energy consumption, prolonging the network lifetime, and decreasing the packet loss ratio.
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