Whisper: Fast Flooding for Low-Power Wireless Networks
Journal article, 2019

This article presents Whisper, a fast and reliable protocol to flood small amounts of data into a multi-hop network. Whisper makes use of synchronous transmissions, a technique first introduced by the Glossy flooding protocol. In contrast to Glossy, Whisper does not let the radio switch from receive to transmit mode between messages. Instead, it makes nodes continuously transmit identical copies of the message and eliminates the gaps between subsequent transmissions. To this end, Whisper embeds the message to be flooded into a signaling packet that is composed of multiple packlets-where a packlet is a portion of the message payload that mimics the structure of an actual packet. A node must intercept only one of the packlets to detect that there is an ongoing transmission and that it should start forwarding the message. This allows Whisper to speed up the propagation of the flood and, thus, to reduce the overall radio-on time of the nodes. Our evaluation on the FlockLab testbed shows that Whisper achieves comparable reliability but 2x lower radio-on time than Glossy. We further show that by embedding Whisper in an existing data collection application, we can more than double the lifetime of the network.

synchronous transmissions

consecutive packet transmissions

Low-power wireless networks

periodic and event-based traffic

energy-efficient sampling


Martina Brachmann

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

Olaf Landsiedel

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Networks and Systems (Chalmers)

Diana Goehringer

Technische Universität Dresden

Silvia Santini

Universita della Svizzera italiana

ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks

1550-4859 (ISSN)

Vol. 15 4 47

Subject Categories

Computer Engineering


Communication Systems



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