In this paper, we propose a simulation-based analysis of the impact of data fusion mechanisms in a Zigbee sensor network used to monitor a spatially constant binary phenomenon. The performance indicators of interest are both physical layer-oriented (Bit Error Rate, BER) and networking- oriented (throughput, delay, and aggregate throughput). The considered topologies encompass both the absence and the presence of clustering. In the first class of scenarios, we analyze the impact, on the system performance, of the number of transmitting sensors, the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) at the sensors, and the presence of ACKnowledgment (ACK) messages. In the second class of scenarios, instead, we analyze the BER performance, in the presence of uniform and non-uniform clustering configurations. Data fusion is considered at the Access Point (AP) and, in clustered configurations, also at the clusterheads, which act as intermediate Fusion Centers (FCs). To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to characterize a Zigbee sensor network from a joint physical layer/networking perspective. Moreover, the proposed simulation results confirm recently obtained theoretical results.
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