Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Frolik, Jeffrey


ABSTRACT For a variety of wireless sensor network applications, sensor nodes may find their received signal strengths dominated by small-scale propagation effects. Particularly impacted are applications designed to monitor structural health and environmental conditions in metal cavities such as aircraft, busses, and shipping containers. Small changes in each sensor’s position or carrier frequency can cause large variations in this received signal strength, thereby compromising link connectivity. We leverage a technique called Wireless Sensors Sensing Wireless (WSSW) in which wireless sensors act as scalar network analyzers in order to characterize their own environment. WSSW data can enable sensors to react to particularly bad fading, such as hyper-Rayleigh, by switching to a good channel or by implementing other mitigation techniques, such as utilizing a diversity antenna. In this work, the WSSW concept has been extended to accommodate mesh networks and include a spectrum analysis capability for recognizing potentially interfering wireless activity. The test of mitigation techniques is often problematic since application sites are far from controlled environments and are often difficult to access. To address this problem, we have developed a Compact Reconfigurable Channel Emulator (CRCE) to create a laboratory environment that is configurable to a variety of repeatable fading scenarios. With the CRCE, fading characteristics found at a specific wireless sensor network location may be replicated inside the chamber to discover the connectivity capabilities of the sensors and the effectiveness of diversity schemes (e.g., channel switching or multi-element antenna arrays).