The advancement in Distributed Source Coding (DSC) for mission-driven wireless sensor networks (WSNs) has opened a new vista for its wide applications in multiple correlated sensor networks such as real time target tracking and environment monitoring. The features of the DSC applications offer many potential opportunities for sensor networks to utilize multirate transmissions for network performance enhancement. In this paper, we propose a methodology for cross-layer optimization between routing and DSC in WSNs, and we introduce a multi-rate based routing scheme for mission-driven DSC applications that can considerably extend network lifetime. The proposed scheme adopts the rate assignment based on residual energy and employs a joint rate and energy scheduling mechanism to meet the end-to-end transmission rate demand, information precision requirement, and energy constraints in the networks adopting DSC. This approach is different from the traditional multirate research in link adaptation, where the focus was to increase channel throughput based on rate adaptation from variable channel conditions. The objective of this work is not to utilize multirate for increasing channel throughput, but to exploit multirate capability for routing optimization in DSC based applications with consideration for energy consumption. We also introduce the concept of "Energy Usage Scheduling (EUS)" to optimize the energy usage based on the rate constraints and DSC application needs. Simulation results show that the proposed scheme can achieve a significantly longer network lifetime than that reported in the literature.
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