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The performance of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) is adversely affected by the radio irregularity and fading effect. Cooperation is introduced into WSNs and serves as an effective way to combat fading effects. Meanwhile, sensor nodes having heavier burden than others result in the energy imbalance problem which remains harmful to the system lifetime. In this paper, the authors design a protocol for cooperative WSNs with energy balance consideration. Since the design of WSNs is highly dependent on application scenarios, the effects of system parameters are thoroughly analyzed and a unified criterion is established to choose the proper cooperative scheme. Moreover, energy balance is achieved by adjusting the size of clusters. They classify energy consumption into two groups: inter-cluster energy consumption and intra-cluster energy consumption.
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