NeTS: Small: 2G for UG: High Data-rate and Long Range Communication Techniques for Wireless Underground Networks

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project aims to increase the communication ranges and data rates of buried radios by leveraging expertise in the nexus of computer science and engineering and biological systems engineering. The goals of this project are to characterize the underground channel; develop environment-adaptive solutions to achieve high data rate, long-range communications; and illustrate applications to agriculture and transportation. The emerging use of wireless underground sensor networks (WUSNs) in many areas, including precision agriculture, transportation, environment and infrastructure monitoring, and border patrol, underscores the importance of wireless underground (UG) communications. Yet, existing limitations in terms of communication ranges and data rates prohibit widespread adoption. The novel approaches developed in the project broaden the scope of existing and novel applications, leading to economically viable solutions. The results and the insight from this project have the potential to enable a wide array of novel solutions from saving water resources for more food production to saving lives on the roadways.

Extending the communication ranges and increasing data rates in wireless UG communications faces unique challenges because of the interactions between soil and communication components: (1) Antenna properties depend on soil type and vary with changes in soil parameters such as temperature and moisture. (2) Channel characteristics, such as delay spread and coherence bandwidth, are time-variant functions of the soil parameters. (3) The soil-air interface results in fluctuations in both antenna performance and EM wave propagation, which should be considered in system design. To address these challenges, the project captures the impulse response of the wireless UG channel through extensive experiments throughout the state of Nebraska, which is one of the most diverse states in terms of soil textural properties, climatic gradients, and land use. Based on this analysis, advanced modulation schemes are developed. Moreover, based on UG antenna analysis, long-range communication techniques are developed. Two distinct applications from agriculture and transportation are considered to evaluate the developed solutions in a crop field and a crash test site.

Effective start/end date8/1/167/31/20


  • National Science Foundation: $450,000.00


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