Communication techniques and challenges for wireless food quality monitoring

Reiner Jedermann, Thomas Pötsch, Chanaka Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Remote measurement of product core temperature is an important prerequisite to improve the cool chain of food products and reduce losses. This paper examines and shows possible solutions to technical challenges that still hinder practical applications of wireless sensor networks in the field of food transport supervision. The high signal attenuation by water-containing products limits the communication range to less than 0.5m for the commonly used 2.4GHz radio chips. By theoretical analysis of the dependency of signal attenuation on the operating frequency, we show that the signal attenuation can be largely reduced by the use of 433MHz or 866MHz devices, but forwarding of messages over multiple hops inside a sensor network is mostly unavoidable to guarantee full coverage of a packed container. Communication protocols have to provide compatibility with widely accepted standards for integration into the global Internet, which has been achieved by programming an implementation of the constrained application protocol for wireless sensor nodes and integrating into IPv6-based networks. The sensor's battery lifetime can be extended by optimizing communication protocols and by in-network preprocessing of the sensor data. The feasibility of remote freight supervision was demonstrated by our full-scale 'Intelligent Container' prototype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20130304
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2017
StatePublished - Jun 13 2014


  • Constrained application protocol
  • Intelligent container
  • Quality-oriented tracking and tracing
  • Signal attenuation
  • Wireless sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Communication techniques and challenges for wireless food quality monitoring'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this