Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) technology has been mainly used in the applications with low-frequency sampling and little computational complexity. Recently, new classes of WSN-based applications with different characteristics are being considered, including process control, industrial automation and visual surveillance. Such new applications usually involve relatively heavy computations and also present real-time requirements as bounded end-to- end delay and guaranteed Quality of Service. It becomes then necessary to employ proper resource management policies, not only for communication resources but also jointly for computing resources, in the design and development of such WSN-based applications. In this context, simulation can play a critical role, together with analytical models, for validating a system design against the parameters of Quality of Service demanded for. In this paper, we present RTNS, a publicly available free simulation tool which includes Operating System aspects in wireless distributed applications. RTNS extends the well-known NS-2 simulator with models of the CPU, the Real-Time Operating System and the application tasks, to take into account delays due to the computation in addition to the communication. We demonstrate the benefits of RTNS by presenting our simulation study for a complex WSN-based multi-view vision system for real-time event detection.
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