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  1. The tremendous potentials of sensing and communication technologies have been explored and implemented for different remote event monitoring applications over the last two decades. However, the applicability of sensing and communication technologies are not necessarily limited to above-ground environments, but also implementable and applicable for subterranean, underground scenarios. However, as opposed to air medium, underground communication medium is very harsh due to the presence of heterogeneous underground materials along with underground aqueous components. In this paper, we provide a technical overview of different underground wireless communication technologies, namely radio, acoustic, magnetic and visible light, along with their potentials and challenges for several underground applications. We also lay out a detailed comparison among these technologies along with their pros and cons using detailed experimental results.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2024
  2. Wireless Underground Sensor Networks (WUSNs) that collect geospatial in situ sensor data are a backbone of internet-of-things (IoT) applications for agriculture and terrestrial ecology. In this paper, we first show how WUSNs can operate reliably under field conditions year-round and at the same time be used for determining and mapping soil conditions from the buried sensor nodes. We demonstrate the design and deployment of a 23-node WUSN installed at an agricultural field site that covers an area with a 530 m radius. The WUSN has continuously operated since September 2019, enabling real-time monitoring of soil volumetric water content (VWC), soil temperature (ST), and soil electrical conductivity. Secondly, we present data collected over a nine-month period across three seasons. We evaluate the performance of a deep learning algorithm in predicting soil VWC using various combinations of the received signal strength (RSSI) from each buried wireless node, above-ground pathloss, the distance between wireless node and receive antenna (D), ST, air temperature (AT), relative humidity (RH), and precipitation as input parameters to the model. The AT, RH, and precipitation were obtained from a nearby weather station. We find that a model with RSSI, D, AT, ST, and RH as inputs was able tomore »predict soil VWC with an R2 of 0.82 for test datasets, with a Root Mean Square Error of ±0.012 (m3/m3). Hence, a combination of deep learning and other easily available soil and climatic parameters can be a viable candidate for replacing expensive soil VWC sensors in WUSNs.« less