LTE-based Water Monitoring Networks

Water is an essential element or any living being and a small contamination in drinking water can turn to be dangerous, especially for individuals with health conditions. Water purification from the drinking water sources, quality control and supply through large pipelines to make it as ‘potable’, is still a huge challenge to any water board/authority, worldwide. Ideally, it would be highly desirable to have wireless sensors at close distance over the pipelines of the water distribution for a continuous and real time monitoring.

However, this is highly challenging, especially from a wireless communication point of view, and no current solution exists. Considering such difficulty, we shall investigate the wireless communication infrastructure of highly integrated wireless biosensor networks (WSNs), device-to-device (D2D) and LTE communications to detect the presence of bacteria and noxious micro pollutants (especially chemical by-products) in water supply lines.

One essential challenge for design such networks is that water supply networks are very huge. Thus, short range WSNs alone cannot meet the requirement. To address the problem, we propose to combine LTE networks and WSNs. The key technologies are based on D2D communications, which have attracted substantial research interest for LTE networks recently. However, the LTE D2D networks for pollution detection (more generally, environmental problems) have not been studied, to our best knowledge. For example, how to let devices interact by local communications in the pipelines to jointly detect a pollution event, and how to report these detection by a wireless systems to a central controller to release anti-pollutants in real time is largely an open technical issue, especially concerning physical, medium access control, and routing layers. Clearly there are many new challenges for such application e.g., combining with sensors, low battery nodes, huge amount of devices, detection of device damage and heterogeneous network structures, as well as the difficulty to have devices communicating wirelessly within water pipes.

In the project, we seek to study essential technologies of combining water pollution detection networks with LTE. Our research aims to be both theoretical and practical. In a longer term, the project will be a first stepto initiate larger projects in national (e.g., VINNOVA) or international (EU Horizon 2020) levels.

Project manager: Carlo Fischione, KTH
Call: SP1302
Duration: 2014-05 and ongoing
Funding: Wireless@kth and project partners (in kind)
Project partners: KTH, KYAB, Nordron
Project website: https://people.kth.se/~carlofi/LTEbasedWMN.htm

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