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Is “Outperform” Still Appropriate to Qualify the Simulation Results of Proposed Protocols for WSNs?

Affoua Thérèse Aby1,3, Stéphane Pomportes1,3, Marie-Françoise Servajean 2,4, Michel Misson2,4
1. IESIEE, Centre de Transfert de Technologie, 14 Quai de la Somme, 80080 Amiens, France
2. Université, Clermont-Auvergne, LIMOS, BP 10448, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
3. MIS: Laboratoire Modélisation, Information, Systèmes, Amiens, France
4. CNRS, UMR 6158, LIMOS, F-63175 Aubière, France

Abstract—Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are the subject of many proposals to improve performance in terms of data delivery ratio, end-to-end delay and energy consumption. To estimate the validity and performance of these proposals, comparisons with the existing protocols are made via simulation tools such as NS2/3, OMNeT++, Glomosim, OPNET, etc. It is interesting to note that in a multitude of scientific articles we can read a variant of: “our proposed protocol outperforms…, ” in the conclusions. This type of conclusion is used even when the simulations only find an increase of a few percent. Although it is not false this statement should be interpreted differently. In this paper we will show, by a comparison of two MAC protocols, and two routing protocols, that the choice of simulation parameters can have a much stronger influence than a gain of a few percent. Thus, we will try to demonstrate that the word ”outperforms” is dependent on the conditions of simulations that are very often only partially specified in the articles. This analytical study allows us to suggest that, it would be more judicious at first to completely detail the simulation environment and to conclude instead of ”our proposed protocol outperforms ...” by ”for the simulation set precisely defined in part xx of this contribution ... ”. In addition, if the simulation conditions are clearly specified, they will be reproducible and make the comparison of results with other protocols easier and more accurate.

Index Terms—WSNs, MAC/Routing protocols, performance evaluation, simulation environment.

Cite: Affoua Thérèse Aby, Stéphane Pomportes, Marie-Françoise Servajean, and Michel Misson, “Is “Outperform” Still Appropriate to Qualify the Simulation Results of Proposed Protocols for WSNs?”Journal of Communications vol. 14, no. 11, pp. 987-1001, 2019. Doi: 10.12720/jcm.14.11.987-1001