Experimental Link Quality Characterization of Wireless Sensor Networks for Underground Monitoring

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Original languageEnglish
Article number7217810
Pages (from-to)1099-1110
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
Issue number5
Online published20 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


Wireless underground sensor networks (WUSNs) are a category of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) with buried nodes, which communicate wirelessly through soil with sensor nodes located aboveground. As the communication medium (i.e., soil) between traditional over-the-air WSNs and WUSNs differs, communication characteristics have to be fully characterized for WUSNs, specifically to enable development of efficient communication protocols. Characterization of link quality is a fundamental building block for various communication protocols. The aim of this paper is to experimentally investigate the link quality characteristics of the three communication channels available in WUSNs for underground pipeline monitoring to gain further insight into protocol development for WUSNs. To this end, received signal strength (RSS), link quality indicator (LQI), and packet reception ratio (PRR) are characterized for the three communication channels in WUSNs. The RSS and PRR results show that the underground-to-underground channel is highly symmetric and temporally stable, but its range is severely limited, and that the aboveground-to-underground/underground-to-underground channels are asymmetric and exhibit similar temporal properties to over-the-air communication channels. Interestingly, the results show that RSS is a better indicator of PRR than LQI for all three channels under consideration.

Research Area(s)

  • Communication, industrial, link quality, underground, wireless sensor networks (WSNs)

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