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Data collection is one of the most important functions provided by wireless sensor networks. In this paper, the authors study theoretical limitations of data collection and data aggregation in terms of delay and capacity for a wireless sensor network where n sensors are randomly deployed. They consider different communication scenarios (single sink or multiple sinks, regularly-deployed or randomly-deployed sinks, with or without aggregation) under protocol interference model. For each scenario, they first propose a new collection/aggregation method and analyze its performance in terms of delay and capacity, then theoretically prove that their method can achieve the optimal order (i.e., its performance is within a constant factor of the optimal).
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