Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2007
Publication Date: 6/25/2007
Citation: Mckinion, J.M., Willers, J.L., Jenkins, J.N. 2007. Wide area wireless network (WAWN) for supporting precision agriculture. National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference. p. 946-952. Interpretive Summary: The Genetics and Precision Agriculture Research Unit (GAPARU), USDA, ARS located at Mississippi State, MS, USA has developed new technology which has the possibility of greatly benefiting cotton growers through the use of early season, spatially-variable insecticide applications based on maps generated from multispectral images taken by aircraft. A primary requirement for use of this technology is that spray application must take place within a 48 hour window from the time the image of the cotton was taken. One of the limiting factors in meeting this time constraint is the delivery and pick up of very large data files in the form of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) maps. To overcome this time constraint, a wide area wireless network was implemented which allows very rapid two-way data communication between GAPARU scientists and four cooperating farms where the technology is being tested. This paper delineates how the network was set up, what it consists of, and its operating characteristics.
Technical Abstract: A high speed wireless network was established using a 100 meter tall microwave tower as the base station located on Prairie Point Road, 16 km from Macon, MS, in Noxubee County. Three sectorial antennas were used to provide complete 360 degree coverage. The system used state-of-the-art unlicensed digital radios in the 900 MHz band from Motorola, Inc. Internet service to the tower was provided by Teletec Communications, Inc. of Columbus, MS, from their 125 meter tall antenna located in Columbus, which is 48 km from the Prairie Point tower. The point-to-point link from Columbus to the Noxubee tower provided an18 Mbps bidirectional full duplex link. Each sector from the base station provided a total 4 Mbps data rate to the end users. Non-line-of-sight links were mapped out to a 16 km radius around the Prairie Point tower. This area covers most of Noxubee County, the southern part of Lowndes County, the northern part of Kemper County, all in Mississippi. The western part of Pickens County in Alabama was also covered. Under line-of-sight conditions, the range extends to a 65 km radius. Initially, four commercial cotton farms were provided service along with a commercial precision agriculture service provider in the non-line-of-sight area. This paper will provide details of how the service was set up and provided.