Software-defined networking (SDN) is a cornerstone of next-generation networks and has already led to numerous advantages for data-center networks and wide-area networks, for instance in terms of reduced management complexity and more fine-grained traffic engineering. However, the design and implementation of SDN within wireless sensor networks (WSN) have received far less attention. Unfortunately, because of the multi-hop type of communication in WSN, a direct reuse of the wired SDN architecture could lead to excessive commu- nication overhead. In this paper, we propose a cluster-based flow management approach that makes a trade-off between the granularity of monitoring by an SDN controller and the communication overhead of flow management. A network is partitioned into clusters with a minimum number of border nodes. Instead of having to handle the individual flows of all nodes, the SDN controller only manages incoming and outgoing traffic flows of clusters through border nodes. Our proof-of- concept implementations in software and hardware show that, when compared with benchmark solutions, our approach is significantly more efficient with respect to the number of nodes that must be managed and the number of control messages exchanged.
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