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A recursive multi-hop area hierarchy has a number of applications in wireless sensor networks, the most common being scalable point-to-point routing, so-called hierarchical routing. In this paper, the authors consider the problem of maintaining a recursive multihop area hierarchy in large sensor networks. They present a gossip-based protocol, dubbed PL-GOSSIP, in which nodes, by using local-only operations and by periodically gossiping with their neighbors, collaboratively maintain such a hierarchy. Since the hierarchy is a complex distributed structure, PL-GOSSIP introduces special mechanisms for internode coordination and consistency enforcement. Yet, these mechanisms are seamlessly integrated within the basic gossiping framework.
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