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Underground wireless data transmission using 433-MHz LoRa for agriculture

Hardie, M ORCID: 0000-0003-4319-6018 and Hoyle, D 2019 , 'Underground wireless data transmission using 433-MHz LoRa for agriculture' , Sensors, vol. 19, no. 19 , pp. 1-18 , doi:

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Wireless underground sensor networks (WUSNs) have potential for providing real-time data for agriculture and other industries without exposing sensors and communication infrastructure to damage. However, soil is a difficult environment for radio communication due to its dielectric properties and variable moisture content. Low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies have been used to develop aboveground sensor networks for many industries, but have not yet been successfully developed for underground applications. In this study, we developed a 433-MHz LoRa-based testbed for evaluating both underground-to-underground (UG2UG) and underground-to-aboveground (UG2AG) wireless communication technologies in four in situ soils. The maximum transmission distance for UG2UG operation was 4-20mdepending on soil type, whilst UG2AG operation was able to communicate up to 100-200 m, depending on the operating variables and soil properties. Signal quality and the maximum transmission distance were influenced by transmitter (TX) burial depth, TX power, data rate, receiver (RX) antenna type, and to a lesser extent, soil parameters. Results suggest that with improvements to power management, the development of 433-MHz LoRa-based UG2AG WUSNs for agricultural applications is readily achievable, whilst UG2UG applications appear unlikely without substantial improvement in transmission distance.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hardie, M and Hoyle, D
Keywords: wireless sensor network, belowground, agritech, agricultural technology, soil, wireless communication, LoRa
Journal or Publication Title: Sensors
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1424-8220
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2019 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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