Open Access

Middleware for wireless sensor networks: an outlook

Journal of Internet Services and Applications20113:46

DOI: 10.1007/s13174-011-0046-7

Received: 3 November 2011

Accepted: 10 November 2011

Published: 24 November 2011


In modern distributed computing, applications are rarely built directly atop operating system facilities, e.g., sockets. Higher-level middleware abstractions and systems are often employed to simplify the programmer’s chore or to achieve interoperability. In contrast, real-world wireless sensor network (WSN) applications are almost always developed by relying directly on the operating system.

Why is this the case? Does it make sense to include a middleware layer in the design of WSNs? And, if so, is it the same kind of software system as in traditional distributed computing? What are the fundamental concepts, reasonable assumptions, and key criteria guiding its design? What are the main open research challenges, and the potential pitfalls? Most importantly, is it worth pursuing research in this field?

This paper provides a (biased) answer to these and other research questions, preceded by a brief account on the state of the art in the field.


Middleware Wireless sensor networks