Sevilleta Wireless Network

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

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The Sevilleta Wireless Network represents a large-scale wireless telemetry network that connects remote environmental research experiments and wildlife monitoring webcams to the Internet. This network, which connects back to the University of New Mexico Sevilleta Field Station, is distributed across several thousand square kilometers in central New Mexico, providing real-time automated data acquisition from nearly fifty dataloggers and thousands of sensors located at meteorological stations, global change experiments, and eddy covariance flux towers. This is one of the largest remote environmental wireless data acquisition networks in the world. While the majority of sites connected to this network are within the boundaries of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, the network includes several sites outside the Refuge, with the most distant link being nearly one hundred kilometers from the Sevilleta Field Station. An ancillary network in the Valles Caldera National Preserve in northern New Mexico exists to provide remote connectivity to additional environmental research experiments. Hundreds of person hours and thousands of vehicle miles are saved each year by eliminating regular visits to download data at these remote sites. Additionally, this network allows for prompt detection of equipment and power failures, reducing data loss. The use of Wi-Fi devices has permitted tremendous flexibility in the overall network design while keeping costs low. Moreover, such devices have allowed wireless links averaging more than ten kilometers and in several instances, exceeding thirty kilometers. Here, we describe the basic elements of this remote wireless data acquisition network, including network design, equipment choices, power options, and datalogger interfaces.