Sensor networks often involve the monitoring of mobile phenomena. We believe this task can be facilitated by a spatiotemporal multicast protocol which we call "mobicast". Mobicast is a novel spatiotemporal multicast protocol that distributes a message to nodes in a delivery zone that evolves over time in some predictable manner. A key advantage of mobicast lies in its ability to provide reliable and just-in-time message delivery to mobile delivery zones on top of a random network topology. Mobicast can in theory achieve good spatiotemporal delivery guarantees by limiting communication to a mobile forwarding zone whose size is determined by the global worst-case value associated with a compactness metric defined over the geometry of the network (under a reasonable set of assumptions). In this work, we first studied the compactness properties of sensor networks with uniform distribution. The results of this study motivate three approaches for improving the efficiency of spatiotemporal multicast in such networks. First, spatiotemporal multicast protocols can exploit the fundamental tradeoff between delivery guarantees and communication overhead in spatiotemporal multicast. Our results suggest that in such networks, a mobicast protocol can achieve relatively high savings in message forwarding overhead by slightly relaxing the delivery guarantee, e.g., by optimistically choosing a forwarding zone that is smaller than the one needed for a 100% delivery guarantee. Second, spatiotemporal multicast may exploit local compactness values for higher efficiency for networks with non uniform spatial distribution of compactness. Third, for random uniformly distributed sensor network deployment, one may choose a deployment density to best support spatiotemporal communication. We also explored all these directions via simulation and results are presented in this paper.
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