University of Oulu

Lin, K., López, O. L. A., Alves, H., Chapman, D., Metje, N., Zhao, G., & Hao, T. (2022). Throughput optimization in backscatter-assisted wireless-powered underground sensor networks for smart agriculture. Internet of Things, 20, 100637.

Throughput optimization in backscatter-assisted wireless-powered underground sensor networks for smart agriculture

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Author: Lin, Kaiqiang1; López, Onel Luis Alcaraz2; Alves, Hirley2;
Organizations: 1College of Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai, China
2Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, 1 Pentti Kaiteran katu, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-11-12


Wireless underground sensor networks (WUSNs) using wirelessly-connected buried sensors enable smart agriculture through real-time soil sensing, timely decision-making, and precise remote operation. Energy harvesting technology is adopted in WUSNs, implying wireless-powered underground sensor networks (WPUSNs), to prolong the network lifetime. In addition, the backscatter communication (BSC) technology seems promising for improving the utilization of resources and network throughput according to preliminary studies in terrestrial wireless-powered communication networks. However, this technique has not yet been investigated in WPUSNs, where channel impairments are incredibly severe. In this work, we aim to assess BSC’s performance in WPUSNs and evaluate its feasibility for sustainable smart agriculture. For this, we first conceptualize a multi-user backscatter-assisted WPUSN (BS-WPUSN), where a set of energy-constrained underground sensors (USs) backscatter and/or harvest the radio frequency energy emitted by an above-ground power source before the sensed data are transmitted to a nearby above-ground access point. Then, we formulate the optimal time allocation to maximize the network throughput while assuring real-world users’ quality of service (QoS). Our analysis considers the non-linearities of practical energy harvesting circuits and severe signal attenuation in underground channels. By simulating a realistic farming scenario, we show that our proposed solution outperforms two baseline schemes, i.e., underground harvest-then-transmit and underground BSC, by an average of 12% and 358% increase in network throughput (when USs are buried at 0.35 m), respectively. Additionally, several trade-offs between the network throughput, time allocation, network configurations, and underground parameters are identified to facilitate the practical implementation of BS-WPUSNs.

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Series: Internet of things
ISSN: 2543-1536
ISSN-E: 2542-6605
ISSN-L: 2542-6605
Volume: 20
Article number: 100637
DOI: 10.1016/j.iot.2022.100637
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This work was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants No. 42074179 and No. 42211530077 (joint with The Royal Society International Exchanges 2021 Cost Share: IEC\NSFC\211286), the Academy of Finland, 6G Flagship program under Grant No. 346208, and the China Scholarship Council under Grant No. 202106260139.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 346208
Detailed Information: 346208 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http:/