A recent trend in wireless sensor network (WSN) research is the deployment of a mobile element (ME) for transporting data from sensor nodes to the base station (BS). This helps to achieve significant energy savings as it minimizes the communications required among nodes. However, a major problem is the large data gathering latency. To address this issue, the ME (i.e., vehicle) should visit certain rendezvous points (i.e., nodes) to collect data before it returns to the BS to minimize the data gathering latency. In view of this, we propose a rendezvous-based approach where some certain nodes serve as rendezvous points (RPs). The RPs gather data using data compression techniques from nearby sources (i.e., affiliated nodes) and transfer them to a mobile element when the ME traverses their paths. This minimizes the number of nodes to be visited, thereby reducing data gathering latency. Furthermore, we propose a minimal constrained rendezvous point (MCRP) algorithm, which ensures the aggregated data are relayed to the RPs based on three constraints: (i) bounded relay hop, (ii) the number of affiliation nodes, and (iii) location of the RP. The algorithm is designed to consider the ME’s tour length and the shortest path tree (SPT) jointly. The effectiveness of the algorithm is validated through extensive simulations against four existing algorithms. Results show that the MCRP algorithm outperforms the compared schemes in terms of the ME’s tour length, data gathering latency, and the number of rendezvous nodes. MCRP exhibits a relatively close performance to other algorithms with respect to power algorithms.
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