Building Ultra-Low Power Wireless Networks

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have received funding from the National Science Foundation to create distortion-tolerant communications for wireless networks that use very little power. The research will improve wireless sensors deployed in remote areas where these systems must rely on batteries or energy-harvesting devices for power.

“Ultra-low power consumption is one of the most formidable challenges faced by the next generation of wireless sensing systems,” said Jingxian Wu, assistant professor of electrical engineering. “These systems will need to operate without interruption for multiple years and with extremely limited battery capacity or limited ability to scavenge energy from other devices. This is why the NSF was interested in our research.”

Ultra-low power wireless communication devices are powered by batteries or energy harvesting devices such as solar panels. The lower the power consumption, the longer the device can operate without recharging. This is especially important for wireless sensor networks, where the sensors are often deployed in remote areas to monitor items such as water quality, the health of animals and the condition of tunnels, buildings and bridges. These networks are expected to operate without interruption over extremely long periods of time without changing batteries. Therefore, it is important to reduce the power consumption so the device can operate for long periods without human intervention.

During data transfer, distortion occurs if the received message is different from the transmitted message. In digital communication systems, the data are transmitted in the form of zeroes and ones. Due to noise and interference during the transmission process, the receiver might receive a zero when a one was transmitted or vice versa. Some critical data or software, such as computer games, requires distortion-free communication. With these systems, any distortion might make the software nonoperational. Other data, such as pictures, music and videos, can tolerate some distortion because human perception might not be sensitive to some of the features.

Conventional research on wireless communication technologies focuses on minimizing distortion through various methods and designs. Conversely, Wu and doctoral student Ning Sun work with distortion-tolerant systems. Rather than limiting or minimizing distortion, their wireless systems allow for controlled distortion, which requires less power than conventional technologies.

“If we accept the fact that distortion is inevitable in practical communication systems, why not directly design a system that is naturally tolerant to distortion?” Wu said. “Allowing distortion instead of minimizing it, our proposed distortion-tolerant communication can operate in rate levels beyond the constraints imposed by Shannon channel capacity.”

Shannon channel capacity is the maximum rate at which distortion-free information can be transmitted over a communication channel.

The goal of Wu’s research project generally is to advance the knowledge of ultra-low power wireless networks. He and his colleagues will construct and test theories, design tools to enable distortion-tolerant technologies and design and develop prototype networks. Their theories exploit the unique features of wireless monitoring systems, such as delay-tolerance, distortion-tolerance, low data rate and spatial data correlation, all of which provide more freedom in network design.

The researchers’ work will accelerate the widespread deployment of ultra-low power wireless networks used for surveillance, environmental and structure monitoring, and biomedical sensing. These applications have the ability to provide early warnings to prevent catastrophic events, such as structural failures, to improve public safety and homeland security and to promote the health and well being of the general public.

The National Science Foundation grant totals $279,425 over three years.

Wu and Sun recently published findings on distortion-tolerant wireless networks in IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications.

Featured

  • 12 Commercial Crime Sites to Do Your Research

    12 Commercial Crime Sites to Do Your Research

    Understanding crime statistics in your industry and area is crucial for making important decisions about your security budget. With so much information out there, how can you know which statistics to trust? Read Now

  • Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    Boosting Safety and Efficiency

    In alignment with the state of Mississippi’s mission of “Empowering Mississippi citizens to stay connected and engaged with their government,” Salient's CompleteView VMS is being installed throughout more than 150 state boards, commissions and agencies in order to ensure safety for thousands of constituents who access state services daily. Read Now

  • Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    Live From GSX: Post-Show Review

    This year’s Live From GSX program was a rousing success! Again, we’d like to thank our partners, and IPVideo, for working with us and letting us broadcast their solutions to the industry. You can follow our Live From GSX 2023 page to keep up with post-show developments and announcements. And if you’re interested in working with us in 2024, please don’t hesitate to ask about our Live From programs for ISC West in March or next year’s GSX. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX
  • People Say the Funniest Things

    People Say the Funniest Things

    By all accounts, GSX version 2023 was completely successful. Apparently, there were plenty of mix-ups with the airlines and getting aircraft from the East Coast into Big D. I am all ears when I am in a gathering of people. You never know when a nugget of information might flip out. Read Now

    • Industry Events
    • GSX

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • A8V MIND

    A8V MIND

    Hexagon’s Geosystems presents a portable version of its Accur8vision detection system. A rugged all-in-one solution, the A8V MIND (Mobile Intrusion Detection) is designed to provide flexible protection of critical outdoor infrastructure and objects. Hexagon’s Accur8vision is a volumetric detection system that employs LiDAR technology to safeguard entire areas. Whenever it detects movement in a specified zone, it automatically differentiates a threat from a nonthreat, and immediately notifies security staff if necessary. Person detection is carried out within a radius of 80 meters from this device. Connected remotely via a portable computer device, it enables remote surveillance and does not depend on security staff patrolling the area. 3

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3

  • Camden CV-7600 High Security Card Readers

    Camden CV-7600 High Security Card Readers

    Camden Door Controls has relaunched its CV-7600 card readers in response to growing market demand for a more secure alternative to standard proximity credentials that can be easily cloned. CV-7600 readers support MIFARE DESFire EV1 & EV2 encryption technology credentials, making them virtually clone-proof and highly secure. 3