When evaluating different simulators for wireless simulation, one of the questions you need to ask is: "What is the level of detail that the simulator must capture to best understand the behavior of a particular network protocol?" Depending on what you are evaluating, it may or may not be necessary to have detailed models of signal propagation, or an event-driven simulator that includes the medium access control layer etc.
A couple of us documented our experiences in the following 2001 paper in the early days of wireless sensor network research, working on problems as diverse as localization, directed diffusion, robot following and wireless visualization. Although 12 years old, you might find the guidelines useful as you evaluate different simulators. John Heidemann, Nirupama Bulusu, Jeremy Elson, Chalermek Intanagonwiwat, Kun-chan Lan, Ya Xu, Wei Ye, Deborah Estrin, and Ramesh Govindan. Effects of Detail in Wireless Network Simulation. In Proceedings of the SCS Multiconference on Distributed Simulation, pp. 3-11. Phoenix, Arizona, USA, USC/Information Sciences Institute, Society for Computer Simulation. January, 2001. <http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Heidemann01a.html>.
Abstract: Experience with wired networks has provides guidance about what level of detail is appropriate for simulation-based protocol studies. Wireless simulations raise many new questions about appropriate levels of detail in simulation models for radio propagation and energy consumption. This paper describes the trade-offs associated with adding detail to simulation models. We evaluate the effects of detail in five case studies of wireless simulations for protocol design. Ultimately the researcher must judge what level of detail is required for a given question, but we suggest two approaches to cope with varying levels of detail. When error is not correlated, networking algorithms that are robust to a range of errors are often stressed in similar ways by random error as by detailed models. We also suggest visualization techniques that can help pinpoint incorrect details and manage detail overload.
University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland
University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene
University of Lisbon
University of Sfax
University of Valencia
Technical Military Academy of Bucharest
Juan Álvaro Muñoz Naranjo
Universidad de Almería
University of Florence
Sherine M. Abd El-Kader
Electronics Research Institute