A new approach to estimating the path loss in underground wireless sensor networks

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Unlike terrestrial Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), communication between buried nodes in WUSNs happens through the ground. Due to the complexity of soil accurate estimation of the underground signal attenuation is challenging. Existing path loss models mainly rely on semi-empirical and empirical mixing models for calculating the dielectric properties of the soil. In this paper, two existing models of estimating the path loss in soil (i.e. the CRIM-Fresnel and Modified-Friis models) are compared with measurements obtained at three field. In addition, an improved method is proposed for estimating the path loss based on a new approach for calculating the dielectric properties of soil from Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) measurements. The proposed approach calculates the complex permittivity values from TDR waveform based on a new modified method and subsequently use them as inputs into the Modified-Friis model. The results from the field trials have been compared with the proposed method and the existing models. The results of this comparison showed that the proposed estimation technique provides a better estimation of Radio Frequency (RF) attenuation compared to the existing models. It also eliminates the need to take samples back to the laboratory by providing in situ calculation of attenuation based on TDR.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjsan-211769
Journal Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2017


  • Wireless Underground Sensor Networks (WUSN)
  • Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR)
  • Path Loss
  • RF attenuation


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