Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-dc8c957cd-ntdpv Total loading time: 0.334 Render date: 2022-01-28T04:12:42.252Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

14 - Wireless underground sensor networks

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2014

Mohammad S. Obaidat
Monmouth University, New Jersey
Sudip Misra
Indian Institute of Technology
Get access


Wireless sensor networks (WSNs), due to their unique features such as fault tolerance, scalability, low production cost, and secured transmission, have found applications over widespread domains. Underground sensor networks have their constituent sensor nodes deployed underground, and are designed to operate underneath the earth’s surface. Each of these nodes is equipped with a processor, a finite local storage memory, a radio, an antenna, and a power source unit. Underground sensor networks can be broadly classified into two categories, based on their data dissemination modes, namely, wired underground sensor networks, and wireless underground sensor networks (WUGSNs) [1–3]. Wired underground sensor networks [1–19] are composed of sensing devices, a small processor, limited memory, an antenna, and a power source. These devices are connected to data loggers on the surface by using wires. Data loggers act as transceivers between the sensors and the central data sink. At the receiver end, the data loggers receive and store data that are disseminated from the underground sensor devices. These data are then transmitted to a central data sink or network administrator site by the data loggers for further interpretation and analysis. On the other hand, WUGSNs consist of multiple wireless sensor nodes, each having a sensing unit, a local processing unit, a local storage memory, a radio, an antenna, and a constant source of power. Each of these nodes is capable of acting independently for transmitting the sensed data to the data sink. The nodes establish a multi-hop wireless communication network to ensure reliable and secured dissemination of sensed data.

The general applications of WUGSNs involve real-time soil monitoring in agricultural applications, measuring toxicity of soil for environment monitoring, infrastructure monitoring, underground mine detection, and border surveillance [1–3]. A WUGSN can effectively replace a traditional wired underground sensor network, as it overcomes most of the shortcomings of its wired counterpart. Unlike wired underground sensor networks [2], WUGSNs do not require concealment of sensing devices in order to protect them from environmental hazards, theft, and other issues of insecurity. WUGSNs are easy to deploy, and are cost effective in comparison to wired underground sensor networks. Moreover, WUGSNs are able to disseminate real-time data with higher reliability and security. Coverage density of WUGSN is also comparatively high, and any failure in a WUGSN can be detected with ease. Owing to these unequivocal advantages, WUGSNs can efficiently replace the wired underground sensor networks in most of their fields of applications. In this chapter, we focus on WUGSNs and their design, architecture, and application areas.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Akyildiz, I. F., Su, W., Sankarasubramaniam, Y. and Cayirci, E., “Wireless sensor networks: a survey,” Computer Networks Journal (Elsevier), Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 393–422, March 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Akyildiz, I. F. and Stuntebeck, E. P., “Wireless underground sensor networks: research challenges,” Ad-Hoc Networks Journal (Elsevier), Vol. 4, pp. 669–686, July 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Akyildiz, I. F., Sun, Z. and Vuran, M. C., “Signal propagation techniques for wireless underground communication networks,” Physical Communication Journal (Elsevier), Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 167–183, Sept. 2009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chen, W., Sun, Y. and Xu, H., “Clustering chain-type topology for wireless underground sensor networks,” in Proceedings of 8th World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation, Jinan, China, July 6–9 2010.Google Scholar
Li, M. and Liu, Y., “Underground structure monitoring with wireless sensor networks,” in 6th International Symposium on Information Processing in Sensor Networks (ISPN), 2007.
Niu, X., Huang, X., Zhao, Z., et al., “The design and evaluation of a wireless sensor network for mine safety monitoring,” in Global Telecommunications Conference, 2007, GLOBECOM’07 IEEE, 2007.
Sun, Z. and Akyildiz, I. F., “Channel modeling and analysis for wireless networks in underground mines and road tunnels,” IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vol. 58, No. 6, June 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sun, Z. and Akyildiz, I. F., “Magnetic induction communications for wireless underground sensor networks,” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 58, No.7, July 2010.Google Scholar
Sun, Z. and Akyildiz, I. F., “Underground wireless communication using magnetic induction,” in IEEE International Conference on Communications 2009, ICC 09, pp. 1–5, 2009.
Yarkan, S. and Arslan, H., “Statistical wireless channel propagation characteristics in underground mines at 900MHz,” in IEEE Military Communications Conference, 2007, MILCOM 2007, pp. 1–7, 2007.
Cerasoli, C., “RF propagation in tunnel environments,” in Proceedings IEEE Military Communications Conference, MILCOM’04, Vol. 1, pp. 363–369, Nov. 2004.
Porrat, D., “Radio propagation in hallways and streets for UHF communications,” Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, 2002.
Emslie, A. G., Lagace, R. L. and Strong, P. F., “Theory of the propagation of UHF radio waves in coal mine tunnels,” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 192–205, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhang, Y. P., Zheng, G. X. and Sheng, J. H., “Excitation of UHF radio waves in tunnels,” Microwave and Optical Technology Letters, Vol. 22, No. 6, pp. 408–410, 1999.3.0.CO;2-T>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sojdehei, J., Wrathal, P. and Dinn, D., “Magneto-inductive (MI) communications,” in OCEANS, 2001. MTS/IEEE Conference and Exhibition, Vol. 1, pp. 513–519, 2001.
Kredo, K. and Mohapatra, P., “Medium access control in wireless sensor networks,” Computer Networks (Elsevier), Vol. 51, No. 4, March 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Biswas, S. and Momis, R., ExOR: Opportunistic Multihop Routing for Wireless Networks, SIGCOMM’05, Pennsylvania, USA, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mehmet, L. L., Vurany, C. and Akyildiz, I. F.Characteristics of underground channel for wireless underground sensor networks,” Physical Communication, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 167–183, Sept. 2009.Google Scholar
Bhattacharjee, S., Roy, P., Ghosh, S., Misra, S. and Obaidat, M. S, “Wireless sensor network-based fire detection, alarming, monitoring and prevention system for Bord-and-Pillar coal mines,” Journal of Systems and Software, Vol. 85 (3), pp. 571–581, March 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats