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This paper discusses a first attempt to investigate, using analytic means, the transmission delay and energy characteristics of a multi-state wireless sensor network. For such a network with n nodes, where each node can be active, resting or sleeping, a model that describes the transition of a node from one state to another and the probability associated with each state is proposed. Asymptotic analyses of transmission delay and energy are presented. The authors report the presence of a threshold for the arrival rate of data packets that decides which energy component dominates. The transmission delay-energy tradeoff is presented for the case where transmission energy varies directly with distance raised to a power and when the reported threshold is exceeded.
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