Wireless sensor network (WSNs) are composed of a large number of battery-powered wireless sensors, which acquire and monitor physical data from their surroundings through self-organization. The sensors are deployed randomly in a target area where maintenance and battery replacement are difficult or even impossible. To achieve better coverage and prolong network lifetime, networks typically adopt clustering protocols with hierarchical inter-cluster topology for network management and data acquisition in WSNs. However, typical solutions require cluster re-configuration due to early death of cluster heads (CHs) and cause energy inefficiency. This paper proposes a coverage- and energy-aware protocol with intra- and inter-cluster methods called CEMST that considers the sensor node density and coverage overlapping. In addition, to adapt network dynamics while improving energy efficiency, self-stabilizing algorithm and Borůvka algorithm are applied to construct the minimum spanning trees (MST) for intra- and inter-cluster routes, respectively. Simulation results indicate that CEMST produces the balanced clustering structures and provides better coverage and longer network lifetime than previous methods.
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