Studies conducted on resource management in wireless sensor networks have identified energy efficient routing protocols as one of the energy saving mechanisms that can be used to manage the consumption of networks’ available energy and extend network lifetime. Routing protocols assist in finding paths for transmission of sensed events, and they must be able to extend the lifetime of a network despite some of the limitations of sensor nodes in a network and the harsh environments in which the sensor nodes are to operate. In this paper, we survey and compare existing routing protocols in wireless sensor networks. We start by introducing the different solutions that can be used to improve the network lifetime and focus on energy efficient routing protocols as the area of the survey, in addition to network topology modeling. We also model the network regarding energy consumption, sensing and event extraction analysis in the network. Categorization of the routing protocols into homogeneous and heterogeneous was performed, for which, sub-classification into static and mobile and other behavioral patterns of the routing protocols was done. The second phase of the paper presents models and simulations of selected routing protocols and comparisons of their performances. We conclude this paper by discussing future work directions with highlights on some futuristic applications.
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