Pipelines As Communication Network Links

Kelvin T. Erickson, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Ann E. Miller
Keith Stanek, Missouri University of Science and Technology
Chwan Hwa John Wu
Shari Dunn-Norman, Missouri University of Science and Technology


The preliminary results of a study into two methods of using the natural gas pipeline as a communication medium were presented. The need to develop secure system monitoring and control techniques between the field and control centers and to robotic devices in the pipeline was described. In the first method, the pipeline is treated as a waveguide for microwave or commercial wireless modem signals. In the second method, the pipe as treated as a leaky feeder or a multi-ground neutral and the signal is directly injected onto the metal pipe. An existing pipeline loop at UMR was used to perform an initial study for these techniques. Both methods were feasible. A special-purpose talk-and-wait protocol with token passing would be the best solution.