Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), which sense
environmental data with battery-powered nodes, require multi-hop
communication. This power-demanding task adds an extra workload
that is unfairly distributed across the network. As a result, nodes run
out of battery at different times: this requires an impractical
individual node maintenance scheme. Therefore we investigate a new
Cooperative Sensing approach that extends the WSN operational life
and allows a more practical network maintenance scheme (where all
nodes deplete their batteries almost at the same time). We propose a
novel cooperative algorithm that derives a piecewise representation
of the sensed signal while controlling approximation accuracy.
Simulations show that our algorithm increases WSN operational life
and spreads communication workload evenly. Results convey a
counterintuitive conclusion: distributing workload fairly amongst
nodes may not decrease the network power consumption and yet
extend the WSN operational life. This is achieved as our cooperative
approach decreases the workload of the most burdened cluster in the
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