Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Wireless Sensor Network Performance Metrics for Building Applications



Won Suk Jang, William M. Healy


Metrics are investigated to help assess the performance of wireless sensors in buildings. Wireless sensor networks present tremendous opportunities for energy savings and improvement in occupant comfort in buildings by making data about conditions and equipment more readily available. A key barrier to their adoption, however, is the uncertainty among users regarding the reliability of the wireless links through building construction. Tests were carried out that examined three metrics as a function of transmitter-receiver separation distance, transmitter power level, and obstruction type. These tests demonstrated a clear transition from reliable to unreliable communications at different distances. The packet delivery rate showed this transition. While this value is difficult to measure in actual applications, the received signal strength indication correlated well with the drop in packet delivery rate in the relatively noise-free environment used in these tests. The concept of an equivalent distance was introduced to translate the range of reliability in open field operation to that seen in a typical building, thereby providing wireless system designers a rough estimate of the necessary spacing between sensor nodes in building applications. It is anticipated that the availability of clear metrics on the range of wireless sensors in buildings will enable more widespread sensing in buildings for improved control and fault detection.
Building and Environment


wireless, sensor networks, building monitoring, reliability, metrics


Jang, W. and Healy, W. (2010), Wireless Sensor Network Performance Metrics for Building Applications, Building and Environment, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created March 31, 2010, Updated October 12, 2021