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Sensors 2014, 14(3), 5118-5135; doi:10.3390/s140305118
Article

A Computational Model for Path Loss in Wireless Sensor Networks in Orchard Environments

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Received: 16 December 2013; in revised form: 17 February 2014 / Accepted: 11 March 2014 / Published: 12 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract: A computational model for radio wave propagation through tree orchards is presented. Trees are modeled as collections of branches, geometrically approximated by cylinders, whose dimensions are determined on the basis of measurements in a cherry orchard. Tree canopies are modeled as dielectric spheres of appropriate size. A single row of trees was modeled by creating copies of a representative tree model positioned on top of a rectangular, lossy dielectric slab that simulated the ground. The complete scattering model, including soil and trees, enhanced by periodicity conditions corresponding to the array, was characterized via a commercial computational software tool for simulating the wave propagation by means of the Finite Element Method. The attenuation of the simulated signal was compared to measurements taken in the cherry orchard, using two ZigBee receiver-transmitter modules. Near the top of the tree canopies (at 3 m), the predicted attenuation was close to the measured one—just slightly underestimated. However, at 1.5 m the solver underestimated the measured attenuation significantly, especially when leaves were present and, as distances grew longer. This suggests that the effects of scattering from neighboring tree rows need to be incorporated into the model. However, complex geometries result in ill conditioned linear systems that affect the solver’s convergence.
Keywords: electromagnetic waves; attenuation; range; foliage; canopy; agriculture electromagnetic waves; attenuation; range; foliage; canopy; agriculture
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Anastassiu, H.T.; Vougioukas, S.; Fronimos, T.; Regen, C.; Petrou, L.; Zude, M.; Käthner, J. A Computational Model for Path Loss in Wireless Sensor Networks in Orchard Environments. Sensors 2014, 14, 5118-5135.

AMA Style

Anastassiu HT, Vougioukas S, Fronimos T, Regen C, Petrou L, Zude M, Käthner J. A Computational Model for Path Loss in Wireless Sensor Networks in Orchard Environments. Sensors. 2014; 14(3):5118-5135.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Anastassiu, Hristos T.; Vougioukas, Stavros; Fronimos, Theodoros; Regen, Christian; Petrou, Loukas; Zude, Manuela; Käthner, Jana. 2014. "A Computational Model for Path Loss in Wireless Sensor Networks in Orchard Environments." Sensors 14, no. 3: 5118-5135.


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