Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Richard D. Gitlin


Diversity Coding, In Vivo Communications, Network Coding, OFDM, Real-time Traffic


This dissertation will present several novel techniques that use cooperation and diversity to improve the performance of multihop Wireless Sensor Networks, as measured by throughput, delay, and reliability, beyond what is achievable with conventional error control technology.

We will investigate the applicability of these new technologies to Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) an important emerging class of wireless sensor networks. WBANs, which promise significant improvement in the reliability of monitoring and treating people's health, comprise a number of sensors and actuators that may either be implanted in vivo or mounted on the surface of the human body, and which are capable of wireless communication to one or more external nodes that are in close proximity to the human body. Our focus in this research is on enhancing the performance of WBANs, especially for emerging real-time in vivo traffic such as streaming real-time video during surgery. Because of the nature of this time-sensitive application, retransmissions may not be possible.

Furthermore, achieving minimal energy consumption, with the required level of reliability is critical for the proper functioning of many wireless sensor and body area networks. Additionally, regardless of the traffic characteristics, the techniques we introduce strive to realize reliable wireless sensor networks using (occasionally) unreliable components (wireless sensor nodes).

To improve the performance of wireless sensor networks, we introduce a novel technology Cooperative Network Coding, a technology that synergistically integrates the prior art of Network Coding with Cooperative Communications. With the additional goal of further minimizing the energy consumed by the network, another novel technology Cooperative Diversity Coding was introduced and is used to create protection packets at the source node. For representative applications, optimized Cooperative Diversity Coding or Cooperative Network Coding achieves ≥ 25% energy savings compared to the baseline Cooperative Network Coding scheme. Cooperative Diversity Coding requires lees computational complexity at the source node compared to Cooperative Network Coding.

To improve the performance and increase the robustness and reliability of WBANs, two efficient feedforward error-control technologies, Cooperative Network Coding (CDC) and Temporal Diversity Coding (TDC), are proposed. Temporal Diversity Coding applies Diversity Coding in time to improve the WBAN's performance. By implementing this novel technique, it is possible to achieve significant improvement (50%) in throughput compared to extant WBANs. An example of an implementation of in vivo real-time application, where TDC can improve the communications performance, is the MARVEL (Miniature Anchored Robotic Videoscope for Expedited Laparoscopy) research platform developed at USF.

The MARVEL research platform requires high bit rates (100 Mbps) for high-definition transmission. Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), a widely used technology in fourth generation wireless networks (4G) that achieves high transmission rates over dispersive channels by transmitting serial information through multiple parallel carriers. Combining Diversity Coding with OFDM (DC-OFDM) promises high reliability communications while preserving high transmission rates. Most of the carriers transport original information while the remaining (few) carriers transport diversity coded (protection) information.

The impact of DC-OFDM can extend far beyond in vivo video medical devices and other special purpose wireless systems and may find significant application in a broad range of ex vivo wireless systems, such as LTE, 802.11, 802.16.