Accepted for publication in Journal of Sensor and Actuator Networks 8(3), 2019.


In underground (UG) multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), the transmit beamforming is used to focus energy in the desired direction. There are three different paths in the underground soil medium through which the waves propagates to reach at the receiver. When the UG receiver receives a desired data stream only from the desired path, then the UG MIMO channel becomes three path (lateral, direct, and reflected) interference channel. Accordingly, the capacity region of the UG MIMO three path interference channel and degrees of freedom (multiplexing gain of this MIMO channel requires careful modeling). Therefore, expressions are required for the degree of freedom of the UG MIMO interference channel. The underground receiver needs to perfectly cancel the interference from the three different components of the EM-waves propagating in the soil medium. This concept is based upon reducing the interference of the undesired components to a minimum level at UG receiver using the receive beamforming. In this paper, underground environment aware MIMO using transmit and receive beamforming has been developed. The optimal transmit beamforming and receive combining vectors under minimal inter-component interference constraint are derived. It is shown that UG MIMO performs best when all three component of the wireless UG channel are leveraged for beamforming. The environment aware UG MIMO technique leads to three-fold performance improvements and paves the wave for design and development of next generation sensor-guided irrigation systems in the field of digital agriculture. Based on the analysis of underground radio wave propagation in subsurface radio channel, a phased array antenna design is presented that uses water content information and beam steering mechanisms to improve efficiency and communication range of wireless underground communications. It is shown the subsurface beamforming using phased array antenna improves the wireless underground communications by using the array element optimization and soil-air interface refraction adjustment schemes. This design is useful for subsurface communication system where sophisticated sensors and software systems are used as data collection tools that measure, record, and manage spatial and temporal data in the field of digital agriculture.


Digital Agriculture, Wireless Underground Channel, Underground Communications, Internet of Underground Things

Date of this Version