Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are crucial in various applications, including smart homes, military surveillance, health monitoring, and environmental sensing. These networks consist of distributed sensor nodes that collect and transmit environmental data to a central location for processing. However, WSNs face challenges such as limited energy resources, scalability, complexity, security, fault tolerance, and quality of service. Researchers have proposed different routing protocols tailored to WSN characteristics to address these issues. This article comprehensively overviews WSN design issues, focusing on routing protocol classification and comparative analysis. Among the hierarchical protocols, LEACH (Low-Energy Adaptive Clustering Hierarchy) is highlighted as a prominent clustering-based protocol that reduces energy consumption by forming clusters and utilizing cluster heads for data aggregation. Each addresses specific challenges and enhances network performance. The comparative analysis evaluates the protocols based on energy efficiency, network lifetime, data delivery, scalability, and security. The findings help researchers, practitioners, and network designers select appropriate routing protocols for their specific WSN applications. This article offers valuable insights into WSN design issues and presents a comprehensive classification and comparison of routing protocols. By understanding the strengths and limitations of different protocols.
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