The realization of Internet of Underground Things (IOUT) relies on the establishment of reliable communication links, where the antenna becomes a major design component due to the significant impacts of soil. In this paper, a theoretical model is developed to capture the impacts of change of soil moisture on the return loss, resonant frequency, and bandwidth of a buried dipole antenna. Experiments are conducted in silty clay loam, sandy, and silt loam soil, to characterize the effects of soil, in an indoor testbed and field testbeds. It is shown that at subsurface burial depths (0.1-0.4m), change in soil moisture impacts communication by resulting in a shift in the resonant frequency of the antenna. Simulations are done to validate the theoretical and measured results. This model allows system engineers to predict the underground antenna resonance, and also helps to design an efficient communication system in IOUT. Accordingly, a wideband planar antenna is designed for an agricultural IOUT application. Empirical evaluations show that an antenna designed considering both the dispersion of soil and the reflection from the soil-air interface can improve communication distances by up to five times compared to antennas that are designed based on only the wavelength change in soil.
Underground Antenna, Cyber-physical systems, Underground electromagnetic propagation, Wireless underground sensor networks, Precision agriculture
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