Wireless Channel Path-Loss Modelling for Agricultural and Vegetation Environments: A Survey
Keywords:Agriculture, channel modelling, path loss, sensor networks
This work undertakes an extensive survey of the channel modelling methods and path-loss characterization carried out in agricultural fields and vegetation environments in an attempt to study the state-of-the-art in this field, which, though vastly explored, still presents extremely diverse opportunities and challenges. The interface for communication between nodes in a typical agricultural field is the wireless channel or air interface, making it imperative to address the impairments that are exclusive to such a communication scenario by studying the characteristics of the medium. The performance of the channel is a direct indicator of the quality of communication. It is required to have a lucid understanding of the channel to ensure quality in transmission of the required information, while simultaneously ensuring maximum capacity by employing limited resources. The impairments that are the very nature of a typical wireless channel are treated in an explicit manner covering the theoretical and mathematical models, analytical aspects and empirical models. Although there are several propagation models characterized for generic indoor and outdoor environments, these cannot be applied to agricultural, vegetation, forest and foliage scenarios due to the various additional factors that are specific to these environments. Owing to the wide variety, size, properties and span of the foliage, it also becomes extremely challenging to develop a generic predictive model for all kinds of crops or vegetation. The survey is categorized into fields containing specific crops, greenhouse environment and forest/foliage scenarios and the key findings are presented.