NI WSN Node Power and Performance Benchmarks

Publish Date: Oct 10, 2011 | 3 Ratings | 3.67 out of 5 | Print


The LabVIEW WSN Module allows you to customize the operation of WSN measurement nodes. The possibilities are endless.... You can adapt sample and transmission rates based on different situations. You can perform local control of digital lines in response to analog measurements or embedded node calculations. You can optimize power consumption by sending only meaningful data over the radio.

This document provides power consumption and acquisition rate benchmarks for NI WSN measurement nodes.  It will detail how the benchmark was performed and discuss considerations that must be made to maximize node performance.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Power Benchmarks (WSN-3202, WSN-3212, WSN-3226)
  3. Acquisition Rate Benchmarks
  4. Additional Resources

1. Overview

By using the NI LabVIEW WSN Module to target and customize NI WSN measurement nodes, you can control power usage and data acquisition rates.  For many applications, you can increase performance by deploying LabVIEW code to the node that modifies how data is acquired and when radio messages are transmitted to the gateway.  However, to achieve increased performance, one must understand the tradeoffs between longer battery life and faster acquisition rates and the necessary increase in code complexity.  To learn more about the operation and execution of applications on an NI WSN measurement node, visit LabVIEW WSN - Under the Hood.

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2. Power Benchmarks (WSN-3202, WSN-3212, WSN-3226)

By default, WSN nodes are programmed to send all acquired data to the gateway via a radio message at each sample interval.  Therefore, when setting the sample interval of the node to one second (1 Hz), the radio on the node is powered up at the same rate.  Battery life can be increased by programming the node so data is not transmitted at each sample interval.  As can be seen in Table 1, the power savings are significant.

Sample Interval

Transmit Interval

Battery Life (months)
1 Second

1 Second

1 Second

10 Seconds

1 Second

100 Seconds

1 Second

1000 Seconds



5 Seconds

5 Seconds

5 Seconds 50 Seconds 24.71
5 Seconds 500 Seconds 25.99
5 Seconds 5000 Seconds 26.99
60 Seconds 60 Seconds 36.0

Table 1: Battery life achieved through slower transmit rates

Note that a transmit interval beyond 100 seconds has a limited effect on power savings.  This is a result of the node’s heartbeat signal which causes the radio to power up and transmit status information to the gateway once every 61 seconds if no radio transmission has occurred in that time period.  Therefore, regardless of the transmit interval, the node will power up the radio at least once every 61 seconds to maintain the network connection.

This benchmark tests the power usage savings by programming the node as shown in Figure 1.  The sample interval is set in the start case and the transmit interval is programmed by performing a modulus on the number of samples taken and sending back every 1, 10, 100, or 1000 samples.  This behavior would be beneficial in a program that is used to average or threshold data samples, cases where data does not need to be returned to the host after every sample.

Figure 1: Power usage test application

Although other factors can influence the battery life of WSN nodes, only the radio usage was investigated in this benchmark, as the radio has the most significant power consumption of all components on the node.

Power Benchmarks (WSN-3230, WSN-3231)

Visit the WSN Serial Node Power and Performance Benchmarks document to learn more about power consumption tradeoffs for the WSN-3230 and WSN-3231.

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3. Acquisition Rate Benchmarks

Each WSN measurement node offers different ways to configure the analog front end, resulting in different acquisition rate benchmarks for each configuration.  Refer to the benchmark documents below to view node-specific acquisition rate benchmarks.

WSN-3202 Acquisition Rate Benchmarks

WSN-3212 Acquisition Rate Benchmarks

WSN-3226 Acquisition Rate Benchmarks

WSN Serial Node Power and Performance Benchmarks (Coming Soon!)

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4. Additional Resources

Advantages and Benefits of LabVIEW WSN and Programmable NI WSN Nodes

Whitepaper:  LabVIEW WSN - Under the Hood

NI WSN Product and Configuration Guide

Purchase an NI WSN Starter Kit

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