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Open AccessArticle

A Comparative Study of On-Body Radio-Frequency Links in the 420 MHz–2.4 GHz Range

1
Berkeley Wireless Research Center, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
2
Waves Research Group, IMEC, Department of Information Technology, Ghent University, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
3
CNRS, Centrale Lille, ISEN, University Valenciennes, UMR 8520—IEMN, University Lille, F-59000 Lille, France
4
STMicroelectronics, Technology and Design Platforms, 38920 Crolles, France
5
DRAMCO, Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT), Ghent Technology Campus, KU Leuven, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4165; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18124165
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 27 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wireless Body Area Networks and Connected Health)
While there exists a wide variety of radio frequency (RF) technologies amenable for usage in Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs), which have been studied separately before, it is currently still unclear how their performance compares in true on-body scenarios. In this paper, a single reference on-body scenario—that is, propagation along the arm—is used to experimentally compare six distinct RF technologies (between 420 MHz and 2.4 GHz) in terms of path loss. To further quantify on-body path loss, measurements for five different on-body scenarios are presented as well. To compensate for the effect of often large path losses, two mitigation strategies to (dynamically) improve on-body links are introduced and experimentally verified: beam steering using a phased array, and usage of on-body RF repeaters. The results of this study can serve as a tool for WBAN designers to aid in the selection of the right RF frequency and technology for their application. View Full-Text
Keywords: body area networks; on-body communication; body-coupled communication; UHF RFID; Bluetooth; RF beam steering; RF repeaters; path loss measurements body area networks; on-body communication; body-coupled communication; UHF RFID; Bluetooth; RF beam steering; RF repeaters; path loss measurements
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Thielens, A.; Benarrouch, R.; Wielandt, S.; Anderson, M.G.; Moin, A.; Cathelin, A.; Rabaey, J.M. A Comparative Study of On-Body Radio-Frequency Links in the 420 MHz–2.4 GHz Range. Sensors 2018, 18, 4165.

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