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Tactical Wireless Ground Sensor Network Deployment and Maintenance System

Description:

OBJECTIVE: The objective is to develop a portable system for deployment planning, real-time monitoring and maintenance of tactical wireless ground sensor networks. DESCRIPTION: Wireless ground sensor networks provide warfighter with superior situational awareness and valuable intelligence that are critical to mission success. However, operation of wireless ground sensor networks are often hindered by factors such as limited energy budget, challenging near ground level radio signal propagation and unpredictable bursty data traffic pattern. The multi-hop radio technology used to improve energy efficiency and to extend the range of wireless ground sensor networks introduces additional configuration and operational complexity beyond the conventional point-to-point networks. Deployment and maintenance of wireless ground sensor networks currently require significant effort and expertise on radio and network technology. Repeated trial-and-errors are often needed to place sensors and relay nodes to form a robust wireless ground sensor network to meet the mission requirement; a task that is especially difficult in unfamiliar or unfriendly terrain. Since operating condition and data traffic pattern often change during a mission, the ability to monitor and analyze the network traffic and to provide adjustment to the network configuration in real-time is crucial to maintaining the required level of network performance throughout the mission. The aim of this project is to seek an innovative solution to lessen the burden on the warfighter while deploying and operating wireless ground sensor networks so they can focus on the mission instead of the network. Proposed approach should yield a portable system that is capable of providing accurate output in real-time to aid in deploying wireless ground sensor networks that optimally meet mission requirements (e.g., area of coverage, speed, latency, and energy expenditure) and to maintain optimal operation as mission condition changes. The resulting system can be a dedicated device, a software application running on commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, or a combination of dedicated and/or COTS hardware and software. The preferred approach is one that requires minimal wireless network expertise and interaction from the end users in the fields. PHASE I: Perform investigation on the feasibility of a portable system for deployment planning and real-time operation monitoring of tactical wireless ground sensor networks that provides high level of accuracy while requiring minimal input from the users. Develop a preliminary design and demonstrate an approach that would address the technical challenges of deploying and maintaining optimal operation of tactical wireless ground sensor networks. Documentation for Phase I shall include a detailed description of key technical and implementation challenges and how the challenges can be met by the proposed solution. PHASE II: Develop a prototype system to demonstrate the functionality of a portable deployment planning tool for tactical wireless ground sensor networks in a relevant test environment to validate the performance and accuracy of the system. The prototype shall also demonstrate at least basic wireless sensor network traffic monitoring and analysis capability. PHASE III: Develop a complete solution to include all functions of a portable tactical wireless ground sensor networks deployment planning and operational monitoring system. Continue improvement in system performance, accuracy and usability over a wide range of operating conditions. Explore extending the technology to other challenging defense and security applications such as ad hoc robot wireless networks, Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) wireless sensor networks, first responder wireless sensor networks, etc. Commercialization Potential: Wireless sensor networks technology is also an active area of search and development in the private sector, e.g., IEEE 802.15.4 standard, WirelessHart, and ZigBee. A wide variety of applications such as industrial monitoring, health care monitoring, and asset management have been proposed and are being developed. These applications often have to operate in challenging environment where RF propagation characteristic can be difficult to predict, e.g., complex metallic structures in a refinery, and where the end users generally have little to no knowledge of wireless networks. Innovative solution for a cost effective, reliable and user friendly wireless sensor networks deployment and monitor system will benefit both commercial and defense customers to ease the deployment, to optimize the operation, and to fully realize the benefits of their sensor networks. REFERENCES: [1] I.F. Akyildiz, W. Su, et al.,"A Survey on Sensor Networks,"in IEEE Communication Magazine, vol. 40, no. 8, pp. 102114, 2002. [2] R.A. Foran, T.B. Welch, and M.J. Walker,"Very Near Ground Radio Frequency Propagation Measurements and Analysis for Military Applications,"in Proc. IEEE MILCOM, vol. 1, pp. 336340, 1999. [3] V. Isler, S. Kannan and K. Daniilidis,"Sampling Based Sensor-Network Deployment,"in Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, vol. 2, pp. 17801785, 2004. [4] F. Sailhan, L. Fallon, et al.,"Wireless Mesh Network Monitoring: Design, Implementation and Experiments,"in IEEE Globecom Workshops, pp. 16, 2007. [5] C. Popi and O. Festor,"Flow Monitoring in Wireless MESH Networks,"in Proc. International Conference on Autonomous Infrastructure, Management and Security, pp. 134146, 2009. [6] OPNET Modeler http://www.opnet.com/solutions/network_rd/modeler.html and 3D Network Visualizer http://www.mak.com/company/OPNET.php [7] V.C. Gungor and G.P. Hancke ,"Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks: Challenges, Design Principles, and Technical Approaches,"in IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, vol. 56, no. 10, pp. 42584265, 2009.
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