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Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) research has predominantly assumed the use of a portable and limited energy source, viz. batteries, to power sensors. Without energy, a sensor is essentially useless and cannot contribute to the utility of the network as a whole. Consequently, substantial research efforts have been spent on designing energy-efficient networking protocols to maximize the lifetime of WSNs. However, there are emerging WSN applications where sensors are required to operate for much longer durations (like years or even decades) after they are deployed. This paper surveys related research and discusses the challenges of designing networking protocols for such WSNs powered by ambient energy harvesting.
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