Communication with aboveground devices in wireless underground sensor networks: An empirical study

Agnelo R. Silva, Mehmet C. Vuran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wireless Underground Sensor Networks (WUSNs) consist of wirelessly connected underground sensor nodes that communicate untethered through soil. WUSNs have the potential to impact a wide variety of novel applications including intelligent irrigation, environment monitoring, border patrol, and assisted navigation. Although its deployment is mainly based on underground sensor nodes, a WUSN still requires above-ground devices for data retrieval, management, and relay functionalities. Therefore, the characterization of the bi-directional communication between a buried node and an aboveground device is essential for the realization of WUSNs. In this work, empirical evaluations of underground-to-aboveground (UG2AG) and aboveground-to-underground (AG2UG) communication are presented. More specifically, testbed experiments have been conducted with commodity sensor motes in a real-life agricultural field. The results highlight the asymmetry between UG2AG and AG2UG communication for different burial depths. To combat the adverse effects of the change in wavelength in soil, an ultra wideband antenna scheme is deployed, which increases the communication range by more than 350% compared to the original antennas. The results also reveal that a 21% increase in the soil moisture decreases the communication range by more than 70%. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first empirical study that highlights the effects of the antenna design, burial depth, and soil moisture on both UG2AG and AG2UG communication performance. These results have a significant impact on the development of multi-hop networking protocols for WUSNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2010 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2010
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Event2010 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2010 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: May 23 2010May 27 2010

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Communications
ISSN (Print)0536-1486

Conference

Conference2010 IEEE International Conference on Communications, ICC 2010
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Period5/23/105/27/10

Keywords

  • Underground communication
  • Underground electromagnetic propagation
  • Wireless Underground Sensor Networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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