Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/28/2003
Publication Date: 7/28/2003
Citation: Mckinion, J.M., Willers, J.L., Turner, S.B., Read, J.J., Jenkins, J.N. 2003. High speed wireless local area networking for farm applications. American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers. #033057, p. 1-25.
Interpretive Summary: A demonstration research project is reported which uses 802.11 or WI-FI technology on a 1600 acre commercial farm. High speed Internet access to the farm was supplied using DirecWay satellite Internet communications. Communication on the farm between tractors, combines, sprayers, planters, and other vehicles was supplied using direct line of sight radio equipment. Communications using a hand held computer in a cotton field was demonstrated showing high speed data transfer capability. The results of this work clearly demonstrate the technical feasibility of providing high-speed wireless communication capability on the farm which can facilitate the use of precision agriculture technology. The project also shows that additional research and development needs to be carried out to make information and data movement easy and transparent to the end user.
Technical Abstract: A high-speed wireless local area network (WLAN) was designed and implemented on a commercial farm in Macon County, MS, to demonstrate the feasibility of establishing such a network and to provide the basis for continuing development of software and hardware for farm applications. Since the farm was part of a research project established by the USDA-ARS Genetics and Precision Agriculture Research Unit involving precision agriculture components with remote sensing applications, a high-speed satellite service was used to connect the WLAN to the Internet. We have developed and tested a new methodology for using spatially variable insecticide applications for control of pests in cotton production. This methodology makes use of multispectral images collected via aircraft. Application maps developed from the multispectral images direct spray equipment to spray areas only where cotton pests are most likely to infest the crop. Essential to this methodology's working properly and effectively is the timeliness of the application after the image is acquired. Rapid delivery to and collection of field information from the farm is required. The satellite Internet access and the WLAN help to greatly reduce the time bottleneck for using this methodology. This paper will discuss the design, system characteristics, implementation, applications and lessons learned of this WLAN and satellite Internet system.