Wireless Sensor Network Simulation With Xen


The large-scale and inaccessibility of deployed wireless sensor networks mandate that the code installed in sensor nodes be rigorously tested prior to deployment. Such testing is primarily done using software simulators. Discrete event simulators, by their very nature, mask race conditions in the code since simulated interrupts never interrupt running code; an additional limitation of most such simulators is that all simulated nodes execute the same application code, at variance with common practice in actual deployments. Java-based simulators often suffer from efficiency issues, which limits the scale and performance of the simulation. Since all of these problems reduce confidence in the deployed system, the focus of this work is to eliminate these problems via complete emulation of wireless sensor networks using virtualisation techniques in a scalable manner. This work describes the virtualisation of the Contiki, TinyOS, and InceOS wireless sensor network operating systems to execute as guest domains over the Xen hypervisor. In each case, the hardware virtualisation is performed at the lowest possible layer, maximising the amount of OS and application code which is executed during the emulation. This work also introduces a novel Xen-specific radio model mechanism, easing the introduction of different radio models for use during emulations.

Proceedings of the 46th Annual Simulation Symposium