Self-Organizing Wireless Networks

Course Length:



This two-day course addresses use of ad hoc network sensors to address “smart” reconnaissance, the employment of sensing motes with relay architecture, to enable objectives as: vehicular/personnel detection and tracking, persistent surveillance, perimeter control, event monitoring, and tagging/tracking/locating (TTL) functions. The course is designed for engineers, program managers, scientists, practitioners, as well as government and industry decision-makers involved in programs and technologies that address the surveillance protected areas, borders and linear objects, and/or force protection. The course presents the concept of using small micro-sensors (“motes”) within a wireless ad hoc network to perform tasks previously assigned to larger, more power hungry sophisticated sensors such as cameras, acoustic, and seismic sensors. Through distributed processing of sensory signals within a networked field, motes can accomplish a myriad of tasks. The course introduces technologies that spawned and promoted mote-sized wireless sensors, discusses design of mote cores and associated sensors, middleware functionality and implementation requirements, and provides insights concerning C2 interfaces. Examples are provided, with background information that presents low power ad hoc networking, mote-based sensor design rules, middleware implementations, and issues associated with data exfiltration and deployment. Actual implementations of mote arrays in laboratory and field tests are reviewed along with underlying designs for specific applications. Efforts in self-organizing wireless networks stem from several sources most notably the DARPA/NEST program.


What you will learn:

  • Why can be accomplished using ad hoc mote networks?
  • What are “motes”?
  • What missions are achievable with mote fields?
  • What are the limitations and strengths associated with mote fields?
  • How does one deploy motes, effectively?
  • Which sensor technologies are suited for low-power mote applications?
  • How do systems get integrated into “useable” systems and architectures?
  • How do I size mote fields?
  • How do I localize motes?
  • What exfiltration routes exist to get data out and commands in?
  • How do I program motes? And how would I reprogram motes?
  • What programming can I employ? (What middleware resources available to me?)
  • How to command and control unattended sensors? What are the emerging architectures to accomplish such (e.g., PULSEnet)?From this course you will gain insight into what motes are, what design rules apply to their use, how mote fields can solve various problems, and how to evaluate the various systems now reaching the “market”. Trade studies will be defined, and examples of how mote perform actual operations in realistic situations will be provided, along with future trends that address a myriad of sensor technologies and power sources for motes.

Course Outline:

  1. Mote Definitions. What is a mote? Fundamental building blocks that comprise a mote core. Subsystem designs and implementations. Review of ad hoc network reviewed.
  2. Mote Design. Mote design goals and objectives. Descriptions and examples of mote subsystems. Mote sensor systems descriptions and examples. Passive sensors, RF (ultrawideband, UWB) sensors, active-optical sensors, olfactory-based sensors.
  3. Mote RF Design. RF propagation at ground level. RF designs. RF reliability.
  4. Mote Programming. Review of network management systems (NMS), employing low-power media Access Communications (LPMAC). Middleware functionality. Mote constraints. Distributed sensor, signal, and data processing.
  5. Mote Field Architecture. Self-organizing capability. Mote field logistics. Mote field initialization. Localization techniques. Relay definition and requirements. Interfaces to backhaul data communications, interfaces: Cellular, SATCOM, LP-SEIWG-005A, UHF, other.
  6. Mission Analysis. Mission definition and needs. Mission planning. Interaction between mote fields and sophisticated sensors. Mote/sensor selection. Distribution of motes. Deployment mechanisms. Relay statistics. Exfiltration capabilities.
  7. Situational Awareness. Situational displays employed. Sensor injection design rules and examples. Display capabilities and examples, including: C2PC. COT. Falcon View. PULSEnet.
  8. Design of systems. Area persistent surveillance. MOUT application.


REGISTRATION:  There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course.   We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING:  If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time.   To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at


  • Timothy Cole 

    is a leading authority with 30 years of experience exclusively working in electro-optical systems as a systems and design engineer. While at Applied Physics Laboratory for 21 years, Tim was awarded the NASA Achievement Award in connection with the design, development and operation of the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Laser Radar and was also the initial technical lead for the New Horizons LOng-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI instrument). He has presented technical papers addressing space-based laser altimetry all over the US and Europe. His industry experience has been focused on the systems engineering and analysis associated development of optical detectors, wireless ad hoc remote sensing, exoatmospheric sensor design and now leads ICESat-2 ATLAS altimeter calibration effort.

    Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

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