Published in Kanchumarthy, V.R., Viswanathan, R., & Madishetty, M. (2008). Impact of channel errors on decentralized detection performance of wireless sensor networks: A study of binary modulations, Rayleigh-fading and nonfading channels, and fusion-combiners. IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 56(5), 1761 - 1769. doi: 10.1109/TSP.2007.912264 ©2008 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


We provide new results on the performance of wireless sensor networks in which a number of identical sensor nodes transmit their binary decisions, regarding a binary hypothesis, to a fusion center (FC) by means of a modulation scheme. Each link between a sensor and the fusion center is modeled independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.) either as slow Rayleigh-fading or as nonfading. The FC employs a counting rule (CR) or another combining scheme to make a final decision. Main results obtained are the following: 1) in slow fading, a) the correctness of using an average bit error rate of a link, averaged with respect to the fading distribution, for assessing the performance of a CR and b) with proper choice of threshold, ON/OFF keying (OOK), in addition to energy saving, exhibits asymptotic (large number of sensors) performance comparable to that of FSK; and 2) for a large number of sensors, a) for slow fading and a counting rule, given a minimum sensor-to-fusion link SNR, we determine a minimum sensor decision quality, in order to achieve zero asymptotic errors and b) for Rayleigh-fading and nonfading channels and PSK (FSK) modulation, using a large deviation theory, we derive asymptotic error exponents of counting rule, maximal ratio (square law), and equal gain combiners.