Simulation is frequently used to evaluate the performance of networking algorithms and techniques in wireless communication networks. However, performance aspects such as the transmission delay, the channel utilization, or the throughput provide only limited information about the feasibility of the particular approach. This is especially the case when investigating Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), which stress energy-efficiency due to extremely limited power source in sensor nodes. Thus, a precise evaluation of the energy efficient performance is demanded. In this paper, we present a generic energy model developed for the simulation framework OMNeT++. The model allows to accurately evaluate the energy performance (in terms of energy consumption or network lifetime) of sensor networks (or in principle any wireless network), taking into account the energy consumption of both the radio transceiver and the CPU. The energy model can be calibrated to arbitrary types of sensor nodes if power measurements are available for the node type. The applicability of the developed energy model is demonstrated in a selected application scenario: the analysis of the energy consumption in IEEE 802.15.4 star networks. Additionally, we outline the need for more complex metrics compared to the energy consumption of single nodes to evaluate the lifetime of the whole sensor network.
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