Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication plays an important role in various kinds of intelligent networks. In this study, a hybrid cooperation scheme for data collection in hierarchical smart building networks (SBN) is proposed under the framework of M2M communications. The hierarchical network structure means that the data collection process is carried out via multi-layer communications. In the first layer, smart metres organise themselves into clusters and send information to the cluster-heads. Then all cluster-heads forward the received information to the base station automatically in the second layer.
In particular, the roles of cluster-head can be acted by either fixed nodes or user terminals in the building, and this endow a hybrid cooperation mode to the data collection process. To construct the network structure and utilise the resources efficiently, the authors first provide some theoretical analysis on the influence of network structure and bandwidth constraints. Then a distributed scheme for joint structure formation and subband allocation is proposed based on coalitional game theory. Furthermore, for the feasibility of this scheme in practical applications, some improvements of the proposed scheme have also been made at last. The advantages of the proposed scheme are verified by simulation results.