Evaluation of the Quality of Aerial Links in Low-Power Wireless Sensor Networks
preprintposted on 03.03.2021, 02:07 by Waltenegus Dargie
A wireless sensor network (WSN) assisted by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can be used to monitor various phenomena in remote, extensive, inaccessible, or dangerous places. The WSN on the ground can provide close-to-the-scene sensing, in-network data processing, and multi-hop communication. The UAVs can interface the ground network with a remote control station or facilitate fast and flexible data collection. To this end, the aerial links established between the UAVs and the WSN are critical. The reliability of the links depends on many factors, including Cross Technology Interference (CTI), the relative distance of the UAVs from the ground nodes, the drive quality of the UAVs, and noise. In this paper, we present experimental results addressing some of these issues. Our experiments consisted of eleven IEEE 802.15.4 compliant transceivers, nine of which were deployed on the ground in a grid topology with a further two being attached to a UAV. From careful examination of traces extracted from received packets we concluded that CTI is the most significant factor affecting the quality of aerial links. Our observations have application for deployment related decision-making and for the design of UAV-assisted data collection protocols.