2016 Volume E99.B Issue 9 Pages 1989-1997
Deterioration of sewer pipes is one of very important problems in Japan. Sewer inspections have been carried out mainly by visual check or wired remote robots with a camera. However, such inspection schemes involve high labor and/or monetary cost. Sewer inspection with boat-type video cameras or unwired robots takes a long time to check the result of the inspection because video data are obtained after the equipment is retrieved from the pipe. To realize low cost, safe and quick inspection of sewer pipes, we have proposed a sewer inspection system using drifting wireless sensor nodes. Water, soil, and the narrow space in the pipe make the long-range and high throughput wireless radio communication difficult. Therefore, we have to identify suitable radio frequency and antenna configuration based on wireless communication characteristics in sewer pipes. If the frequency is higher, the Fresnel zone, the needed space for the line of sight is small, but the path loss in free space is large. On the other hand, if the frequency is lower, the size of the Fresnel zone is large, but the path loss in free space is small. We conducted wireless communication experiments using 920MHz, 2.4GHz, and 5GHz band off-the-shelf devices in an experimental underground pipe. The measurement results show that the wireless communication range of 5GHz (IEEE 802.11a) is over 8m in a 200mm-diameter pipe and is longer than 920MHz (ARIB STD-T108), 2.4GHz (IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.15.4) band at their maximum transmission power. In addition, we confirmed that devices that use IEEE 802.11a and 54Mbps bit rate can transmit about 43MB data while they are in the communication range of an AP and drift at 1m/s in a 200mm-diameter pipe, and it is bigger than one of devices that use other bit rate.