Channel model and analysis for wireless underground sensor networks in soil medium

Mehmet C. Vuran, Ian F. Akyildiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Wireless underground sensor networks (WUSNs) constitute one of the promising application areas of the recently developed wireless sensor networking techniques. The main difference between WUSNs and the terrestrial wireless sensor networks is the communication medium. The propagation characteristics of electromagnetic (EM) waves in soil and the significant differences between propagation in air prevent a straightforward characterization of the underground wireless channel. To this end, in this paper, advanced channel models are derived to characterize the underground wireless channel and the foundational issues for efficient communication through soil are discussed. In particular, the underground communication channel is modeled considering not only the propagation of EM waves in soil, but also other effects such as multipath, soil composition, soil moisture, and burial depth. The propagation characteristics are investigated through simulation results of path loss between two underground sensors. Moreover, based on the proposed channel model, the resulting bit error rate is analyzed for different network and soil parameters. Furthermore, the effects of variations in soil moisture are investigated through field measurement results. The theoretical analysis and the simulation results prove the feasibility of wireless communication in underground environment and highlight several important aspects in this field. This work will lead to the provision of a generic framework for underground wireless communication and the realization of WUSNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Channel modeling
  • Soil composition
  • Underground communication
  • Volumetric water content
  • Wireless underground sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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