Diagnostic Powertracing for Sensor Node Failure Analysis
Troubleshooting unresponsive sensor nodes is a significant challenge in remote sensor network deployments. This paper introduces the tele-diagnostic powertracer, an in-situ troubleshooting tool that uses external power measurements to determine the internal health condition of an unresponsive host and the most likely cause of its failure. We developed our own low-cost power meter with low-bandwidth radio to report power measurements and findings, hence allowing remote (i.e., tele-) diagnosis. The tool was deployed and tested in a remote solar-powered sensing network for acoustic and visual environmental monitoring. It was shown to successfully distinguish between several categories of failures that cause unresponsive behavior including energy depletion, antenna damage, radio disconnection, system crashes, and anomalous reboots. It was also able to determine the internal health conditions of an unresponsive node, such as the presence or absence of sensing and data storage activities (for each of multiple sensors). The paper explores the feasibility of building such a remote diagnostic tool from the standpoint of economy, scale and diagnostic accuracy. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first paper that presents a remote diagnostic tool that uses power measurements to diagnose sensor system failures.
This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.
- The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IEEE publications: "Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/publish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from IEEE."
- The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in ACM publications: "© ACM, effective the year of publication shown in the bibliographic information. This file is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in the journal or proceedings indicated in the bibliographic data for each item."
- The following copyright notice applies to all of the above items that appear in IFAC publications: "Document is being reproduced under permission of the Copyright Holder. Use or reproduction of the Document is for informational or personal use only."