9 January 2012
A wireless sensor network is a large collection of sensor nodes with limited power supply and constrained computational capability. Due to the restricted communication range and high density of sensor nodes, packet forwarding in sensor networks is usually performed through multi-hop data transmission. Therefore, routing in wireless sensor networks has been considered an important field of research over the past decade. Nowadays, multipath routing approach is widely used in wireless sensor networks to improve network performance through efficient utilization of available network resources. Accordingly, the main aim of this survey is to present the concept of the multipath routing approach and its fundamental challenges, as well as the basic motivations for utilizing this technique in wireless sensor networks. In addition, we present a comprehensive taxonomy on the existing multipath routing protocols, which are especially designed for wireless sensor networks. We highlight the primary motivation behind the development of each protocol category and explain the operation of different protocols in detail, with emphasis on their advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, this paper compares and summarizes the state-of-the-art multipath routing techniques from the network application point of view. Finally, we identify open issues for further research in the development of multipath routing protocols for wireless sensor networks.