The problem tackled is selecting a viable method for communication among pumps in a district heating system. This system is viewed as a metropolitan wireless sensor network, the nodes of which are confined underground and physically connected by pipes. In a further horizon, providing sophisticated control systems for similar urban utilities motivates this research problem. Here we have reported the results of investigating several potential methods for realizing the idea of “the talking pumps” in a district heating system. This includes a diverse list of key references, simulations for some methods and experimental results for some others, followed by selection of the most appropriate option. The methods considered used (1) acoustic waves through water and pipelines; (2) power-line communications; (3) the electrical conductivity of pipes; (4) cell-phone infrastructure; (5) free and guided radio-frequency (RF) electromagnetic (EM) waves; and (5) free and guided very low frequency (VLF) electric and magnetic fields, also known as magnetic induction. The viability of the latter method was verified by simulations and primitive experimental results.
I E E E Antennas and Propagation Magazine, 2013, Vol 55, Issue 3, p. 118-134