JOURNAL OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS, VOLUME 24, ISSUE 2, APRIL 2014

1

RBF Neural Network Model of an UWB Channel
in a confined Mine Environment
N. Zaarour, N. Kandil, N. Hakem and C. Despins
Abstract— Modeling an ultra-wideband (UWB) channel is an important and challenging task in wireless communica-tions. An accurate
model of a channel is essential for conceiving and deploying a UWB communications network. Furthermore, modeling a channel in a
confined and a harsh propagation environment such as an underground mine presents additional challenges and difficulties already
investigated by a significant body of research. This paper presents an original approach based on artificial neural network to model the UWB
channel in this particular confined area. Results show the efficiency and the accuracy of the proposed approach, as wel l the potential of
neural networks in modeling the channel transfer function and in predicting UWB signal behavior in a mine environment.
Index Terms— UWB channel, mine environment, propagation model, path loss, phase, RBF ANN, training process, testing phase.
——————————  ——————————
1 INTRODUCTION
WB is one of the major technologies used in wireless
communication; it has been employed for several and
various applications such as commercial communications ap-
plications, system surveillance, medical applications, localiza-
tion, military applications and newly wireless personal area
networks [1].
As the necessity of wireless communication in underground
mines is well understood, many companies have started to
deploy modern wireless networks in mine galleries to increase
safety and productivity [2], such as voice communication
among mine workers, and video surveillance through infre-
quent snapshots in mine galleries [3]. Remote control applica-
tion is also of interest to mine operators so that machinery op-
erating in extreme conditions such as shearers can be con-
trolled remotely, thus increasing safety and productivity. Nev-
ertheless, conceiving these systems requires accurate know-
ledge of the channel.
UWB radios mainly use frequencies from 3.1 GHz to 10.6
GHz; they offer many advantages and benefits such as large
throughput, covertness, fading robustness, capacity, flexibility
and coexistence with current radio services. The wide band-
widths have attracted great interest and created many new
possibilities for mine environment communication systems [4].
However, radio wave propagation in an underground mine
is submitted to many physical phenomena such as reflection,
refraction, diffraction and scattering due to the natural geology
composition and significant roughness of the ground, walls
and ceilings in such a confined environment. Knowledge of the
channel is necessary to ensure high-quality UWB network dep-
loyments and to design a high performance transmission sys-
tem [5]. Hence, accurate channel modeling in this environment
is an important and a complex issue.
Modeling a channel is achieved through mathematical ex-
pressions, diagrams and algorithms to represent the characte-
ristics and the behaviour of the channel. Ultimately, modeling
the channel in a mine environment targets many goals such as
the exploitation of mineral resources, localization of miners,
mobile terminals and equipment that is highly desirable for
operational and safety enhancements in the mining industry.
Approaches to channel modeling can be classified as (i) de-
terministic models, (ii) statistical/empirical models and (iii)
semi-deterministic models.
Well-known ray tracing/ray launching and FDTD (finite-
difference time domain) models [6] are deterministic modeling
methods where the information of form and geography and
the electrical characteristics of the propagation environment
are used to compute the received signal, and to determine the
Maxwell‘s equation exact solution (FDTD). These techniques
require a large amount of calculation and their results may not
be very accurate [7]; also, they may require the importation of
specific data such as the location geometry of obstacles and the
electromagnetic parameters of all materials. Moreover, a draw-
back of FDTD techniques is the requirement for storage space
and large computations, and as such, it can only be applied to a
small part of the entire target environment [7]. Thus, these
models are computationally inefficient for mining environ-
ments where many galleries have various dimensions and
where the walls, the ground and ceilings present multiple irre-
gularities leading to a huge number of diffracted and scattered
rays [2][8].
Statistical models are measurement-based; they have been
derived from intensive measurement campaigns. The stochas-
tic parameters of these models are extracted from the mea-
surement data. It has been shown that the measured amplitude
samples follow Rice, Rayleigh, or Weibull distributions [9]
thus, they are dependent on the measurement experimental
————————————————
- N. Zaarour is with the Institut national de la recherche scientifique
Montréal, QC, H5A1K6, Canada
- N. Kandil and N. Hakem are with Ingeneer School of Université du Québec
en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Val-d’Or, QC, J9P1Y3, Canada
- C. Despins is with Propmt Quebec Inc., Montréal (Québec) H3B 3A7,
Canada


U
© 2014 JOT
www.journaloftelecommunications.co.uk
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setups [10]. Semi-deterministic models combine both stochastic
and deterministic approaches. They use ray tracing to identify
the main rays in specific sites and superimpose statistical dis-
tributions [9].
A large body of research results has been published on UWB
channel propagation based on the different approaches dis-
cussed above e.g. modeling an UWB propagation indoor statis-
tical channel [10], modeling based on the S-V model [4], a
modeling approach based on the concept of degradation level
discrete-time Markov chain [12], Ultra Wideband channel
modeling based on Ray-Tracing [13], and FDTD Characteriza-
tion of an UWB Indoor Radio Channel [14].
Our study proposes an original approach for modeling
UWB signal propagation in a harsh underground mine envi-
ronment based on using the Radial Basis Function artificial
neural network (RBF ANN) method, which is classified as one
potential solution to reduce and overcome computation ineffi-
ciency and measurement dependence drawbacks. The pro-
posed approach combines the use of a small set of measure-
ments and of a well-defined neural network structure in order
to produce a highly accurate channel model for the mine envi-
ronment. The experimental results presented in this paper ex-
tend some of the preliminary results published in [15].
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. After
this introduction, a second section describes the proposed
neural network model. Simulations and results are reported
and discussed in the third section prior to the conclusion in the
last section.
2 NEURAL NETWORKS
Over the last thirty years, the field of artificial neural networks
(ANN) has become an important research theme, as ANNs
have been developed as generalizations of mathematical mod-
els of human cognition or neural biology. They are intercon-
nected assemblies of simple process elements, neurons, units or
nodes that offer an alternative to conventional computing ap-
proaches. Their operation is based on certain known properties
of biological neurons.
ANNs respond in parallel to a set of inputs and are more
concerned with transformations than algorithms and proce-
dures. As such, they are able to respond with high speed. Fur-
thermore, the redundancy of their interconnections ensures
robustness and fault tolerance, and they can be designed to
self-adapt and learn [16].
The ANN is a mesh of many neurons organized in layers.
The point where two neurons communicate is called a "connec-
tion" (cf. Figure 1). The strength of this connection is defined by
its weight. Neural networks can achieve complicated input-
output mappings, without explicit programming or prior
knowledge, and can extract relationships (both linear and non-
linear) between data sets presented during a learning process
(or training).
The procedure used to perform the learning process is called
a learning algorithm whose function is to modify the synaptic
weights of the network to attain a desired design objective [17].
Many research results on neural networks have been pub-
lished, since they have been used for modeling communication
systems [17] such as satellite channels [18] or for localization in
mines [19], for identity verification [20] and for modeling of
power amplifiers [21].
As well, ANNs have been used in channel modeling; MLP
was the first neural structure applied to channel equalization
[22]; researchers used ANNs to estimate a signal for multipath
mobile communications [23], to make a comparative study on
channel modeling using feed forward and recurrent neural
networks [24], and for wireless fading channel modeling based
on a radial basis function network [25]. Also, Wavelet neural
networks have also been used to model a mobile communica-
tions fading channel [26]. In this approach, an RBF ANN is
used to find the best model with the lowest error to represent a
complex confined area such as an underground mine environ-
ment.

2.1 Radial basis function networks (RBFN)
One of the most popular types of neural networks is the RBFN,
introduced to the design of neural networks in 1988 [20]. The
RBFN exhibits superior learning speed and ability for a strong
non-linear function approach and mode-classification [22]. Real
wireless channels are nonlinear and the RBFN has good proper-
ties for simulating nonlinear systems [25].
Their basic characteristic is that they are restricted to a sin-
gle hidden layer which consists of a variable number of neu-
rons whose activation function is a Gaussian function (Fig.1)
[27] [17]. RBF networks belong to the category of kernel net-
works. Each hidden node (unit) computes a kernel function on
input data, and the output layer achieves a weighted summa-
tion of the kernel functions.
When an X vector of input values is presented to the net-
work (hidden neurons), it is shifted in R
n
space according to
some stored parameters (the centers) in the network. The
Euclidean norm is computed for each of these shifted vectors,
and then the RBF kernel function to this distance is applied
using the radius of the Gaussian [28].


Fig. 1. Architecture of a RBF neural network [11]
Fig. 1 presents the radial basis network architecture [11].
The output of the hidden neurons is given by the activation
function ) ( x h
j
in (1).
3

( ) ( )
¿
=
÷ ÷ =
l
k
jk jk j j
r C x x h
1
2 2
exp ) ( (1)
Where j
H ,...., 1 =
and H is equal the number of hidden neu-
rons, and l is equal the number of input neurons. Also, rj is
equal to the radius vector of the j
th
hidden unit and models the
shape of the activation function rj =[ rj1, rj2, …, rjl]
T
, and the vector
cj represents the location.
Next, the outputs from the hidden layer are forwarded to
the output layer where neurons implement a weighted sum of
hidden unit outputs (linear combination of hidden function)
[27].
The output of the third layer ok is linear (2):
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
¿
=
) (
1
x h w f o
j
H
j
jk k
. (2)
where O k ,...., 1 = and O is the number of nodes in the output
layer. In supervised learning, the weights wk are modified us-
ing the cost function criteria of the sum of squared errors
minimization over the entire training set presented in (3):
( )
2
1
2
1
¿
=
÷ =
O
K
k k
o y E . (3)
In the preceding, yk are the targets, y (y = [ y1, y2, …, yo]
T
) and
ok are the outputs from the neural network. Weights are initial-
ized using small random values and they are tuned at each
iteration round of supervised learning:
jk
old
jk
new
jk
w w w A + = . (4)
Where
( ) ) ( . ) ( x h x h o y
w
E
w
j j k jk
jk
jk
qo q q = ÷ =
c
c
÷ = A (5)
where η is a non-fixed learning rate. These operations are re-
peated until the maximum number of iterations is reached or
until the prediction error is less than some given threshold.
2.2 Proposed neural network model
2.2.1 Experimental setup
Several measurement campaigns to characterize an UWB
channel in a mine were conducted at the ''Télébec Under-
ground Communications Research Laboratory'' (LRTCS) lo-
cated in Val-d‘Or, 500 km north of Montreal, Québec, Canada.
This laboratory specializes in communications in underground
and confined areas and has been provided with an experimen-
tal mine known as CANMET (Canadian Centre for Minerals
and Energy Technology) to perform measurements in a real
physical environment [8]. Results of some of these measure-
ments campaigns are used in this work to model UWB channel
in the mine environment using RBF ANNs. Both line of sight
(LOS) and non-light of sight (NLOS) measurements are consid-
ered in two corridor depth levels of 40 m and 70 m, where the
environment consists of rough walls and bumpy floors pre-
senting some puddles of water (Fig.2).
The purpose of these measurements was to study small-
scale and large-scale variations in the statistics of the channel.
A network analyzer (VNA-Agilent E8363B) was used to
measure the radio channel frequency response, both in ampli-
tude and phase. The VNA was used to measure and record the
complex frequency response, the S21 parameter, over a 7 GHz
bandwidth centered on 6.5 GHz.

Fig. 2. Photography of a CANMET underground gallery
The measurements were made between 1m and 10 m with
an interval of 1 m, and for each position, a specially con-
structed grid was used to measure at 9 horizontally-spaced
points around the nominal receiver position (Fig.3). The dis-
tance between spatial points is 1 cm, avoiding the correlation
between signals at very close frequencies. During measure-
ments, the heights of transmitting and receiver antennas were
maintained at 1.5 m in the same horizontal plane and the chan-
nel was kept stationary by ensuring there was no movement in
the surrounding environment.
An ARA directional antenna (DRG-118/A) linearly polar-
ized, covering the frequency range from 1 to 18 GHz, with a
gain varying from 9.1 to 12.2 dBi was used at the transmitter.
At the receiver, an omnidirectional antenna (EM-6116) verti-
cally polarized and covering the frequency range from 2 to 10
GHz with a gain equal to 1 dB and a low noise amplifier LNA
covering a frequency range from 0.1 to 18 GHz with a gain
equal to 30 dB were used. At port 1, a signal was transmitted
and the receiving antenna was connected to the other port of
the VNA. The transmitting port of the VNA swept 16001 dis-
crete frequencies ranging from 3 GHz to 10 GHz uniformly
distributed over the bandwidth [8].
The scattering parameter S21 obtained by the VNA is com-
posed of an amplitude and a phase and is proportional to the
frequency response of the transmission channel H(f,t).
Since the measurements were done on a stationary channel,
the time dependency is null and the frequency response is:

) (
) ( ) (
f j
e f H f H
u ÷
= (6)
These measurement campaigns were used to model an
UWB channel path loss in a mine environment using MLP neu-
ral networks focusing on the path loss attenuation as a function
of distance and frequency [29].
Since the received signal in a multipath channel consists of
series of attenuated, time-delayed, and phase-shifted replicas
of the transmitted signal, the model of a radio channel is given
as a complex transfer function in the frequency domain, or as a
complex impulse response in the time domain. Once the com-
plex impulse-response function is determined, important
channel-propagation parameters can be extracted.
4


Fig. 3. Measurement Setup [8]
In this work, the study takes into consideration the estima-
tion of the path loss as well as the phase of the received signal
in an underground mine using the Radial Basis Function neu-
ral networks (RBFN).
2.2.2 Training and testing measurement data
The most important work in building an ANN is the selection
and the preparation of its input variables. The proposed model
of RBFN has two inputs in its input layer: f, the frequency
varying from 3 to 10 GHz and d, the distance varying from 1 to
10 m, a Gaussian hidden layer and two outputs: the path loss
in dB and the phase in degrees (Fig.4).
Measurements described in this work constituted the data
set. In fact, an average was done for the 9 measurements (9
horizontally-spaced points) for each frequency at each distance
(from 1m to 10 m). A portion of this data set is used to train the
ANN (training phase), and another portion, which was not
presented to the ANN during the training, is used to test the
ANN performance (testing phase).
During the training phase, the ANNs learn to build a rela-
tionship (mapping) between the input-target pairs, and by ad-
justing the weights during the process of learning to ultimately
reach the minimal tolerated error (by comparing the output of
the ANN with the desired target). Then, the testing phase
checks the performance and the accuracy of the ANN to pre-
dict correctly the relation between the testing data and their
corresponding outputs.
After training the RBFN and testing its performance at 70 m,
we present, in a final step, a new data set at level 40m to the
RBFN to test its performance and its capacity to estimate and
predict the outputs of desired inputs in a new environment.
2.2.3 RBFN implementation
In the learning process, the Matlab© Neural Network Toolbox
function newrb was used [30]. Using this function, RBFN train-
ing is based on the iterative increase of the number of RBFs in
the hidden layer until the sum-squared error minimization of a
training data set is satisfied. At each computational step, a new
RBF is created from the input vector that minimizes error. If
the initial conditions are not satisfied, a new neuron in the hid-
den layer was added, and a new iteration was run and a new
error was computed.

Fig. 4. Structure of the proposed RBF network
The input data was scaled and the learning parameters were
selected as follows: the spread of the Gaussian is 10
-2
and the
training parameter goal is 10
-4
. A small portion of measure-
ments was used with only 5% of the data constituting the
learning samples (8000 points of 160010 points). During this
phase, the network architecture is obtained by fixing the model
parameters and by determining the network's weights.
3. SIMULATIONS AND RESULTS
3.1 Modeling the channel at 70 m using an RBF neural
network in LOS
At level 70, the dimensions of the mine corridors are approxi-
mately 2.5 m in width, 3 m in height and 80 m in length. Fig. 5
presents the estimated path loss obtained from the S21 ampli-
tude parameter. This estimation was done by the RBFN on a
large set of data used for testing; the blue curve presents the
real measured data in the mine environment, while the red one
presents the output of the ANNs representing the estimated
path loss.
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P
a
t
h

L
o
s
s
(
d
B
)


Path Loss estimated by RBF NN
Measured Path Loss
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 9m 10m
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
frequency
(GHz)
distance(m)
3-10GHz
8m

Fig. 5. Estimated path loss by RBFN as a function of distance and fre-
quency at 70m in LOS
To clarify the results, we present a small portion of testing
data (0.05%) used to estimate the performance of ANNs and
this is shown in Fig.6. The superposition of these two curves
with a mean square error equal to 0.0844 dB (error calculated
over the 0.05% of data) shows a great fitting of our model to
reality. ANN estimates the path loss as function of inputs with
frequency varying from 3 to 10 GHz and distance varying from
1 to 10 m. As the curves show, at each distance, the frequency
is varying from 3 to 10 GHz, so the phases of training and test-
5

ing were done on the whole range of frequencies at each dis-
tance.
Fig.7 shows the phase estimated by RBFN; the blue curve
shows the measured phase while the red one shows the esti-
mated values. Fig.8 shows the clarification of the results by
presenting a portion of 0.05% of data set.
It‘s clear that the curve estimated by the RBFN follows the
real one, and we quantify this result by calculating the error
which is equal to 10.36°, the latter being obtained by dividing
the sum of the differences between the real values and the es-
timated ones on the total number of estimated points.
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P
a
t
h

L
o
s
s
(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN
Measured Path Loss
3-10GHz
3-10GHz
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
10m 9m 8m 7m 6m 5m 4m 3m 2m 1m
3-10GHz
distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)

Fig. 6. Estimated path loss by RBFN by using a portion of 0.05 % of data
set at level 70m in LOS
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-50
0
50
100
150
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated Phase by RBF NN
Measured Phase
1m
3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz
3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz
2 m 3m 4 m 5 m 7m 8m 9m 10m 6 m distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)

Fig. 7. Estimated phase by RBFN at level 70m in LOS
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0
50
100
P
h
a
s
e

(
D
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated Phase by RBF NN
Measured Phase
1m 2 m 3m 4 m 5 m 6 m 7m 8m 9m 10m
3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz
3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz 3-10 GHz
frequency
(GHz)
distance(m)

Fig. 8. Estimated phase by RBFN by using a portion of 0.05 % of data set
at level 70m in LOS

3.2 Testing the performance of the neural network in a
mine gallery at level 40m in LOS
To prove and to confirm the performance of the model ob-
tained by a RBF ANN, we test it by using another data set
measured in another tunnel located at 40 m of depth in the
same mine environment.
At level 40 m, the dimensions of the mine corridors are 4 m
in width, approximately 5 m in height and 100 meters in
length. This gallery is broader and higher than the one at level
70 m [9].
The same ANN used in the previous section, obtained by a
training data set measured at 70 m, is used in this one to esti-
mate the path loss and the phases at 40m. Hence, it can pro-
duce the channel behaviour at a new level which is never used
in its building and learning process.
The results are plotted in Figs. 9 and 10. Fig.9 presents the
path loss at 40m, and the error calculated over 0.05 % of data
set is 8.1456 dB. The latter has increased, even though the
model is still able to predict correctly the variation of the path
loss as function of distance and frequency. Fig.10 presents the
estimated phase in degrees at 40m; the curves are not well su-
perimposed. And this can be explained by the difference be-
tween the two environments.
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P
a
t
h

l
o
s
s
(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN at level 40 m
Measured Path loss
distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 m 6 m 7 m 8 m 9 m 10 m

Fig. 9. Estimated path loss by RBF ANN at level 40 m in LOS
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0
50
100
150
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated phase by RBF NN at level 40 m
Measured phase
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 m 6 m 7 m 8 m 9 m 10 m distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)

Fig. 10. Estimated phase by RBF ANN at level 40 m in LOS
3.3 Modeling the channel at 70 m using RBF neural
network in NLOS
The structure of the mine environment leads to non-line of
sight propagation. Hence, the obstructions reflect certain radio
frequencies, while some simply absorb or garble the signals;
but, in either case, they limit the use of many types of radio
6

transmissions. In this sub-section, we will present the UWB
channel modeling in NLOS situations.
This new RBFN is trained using a new data set obtained
from measurements at level 70m in NLOS. Fig.11 presents the
estimated path loss by RBFN at level 70m in NLOS propaga-
tion; likewise, the blue curve presents the real measurements
and the red one presents the estimated values. Fig.12 presents a
small portion to clarify the results obtained in this simulation;
the MSE is calculated and is found equal to 0.2470 dB.

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P
a
t
h

l
o
s
s

(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN in NLOS
Measured path loss
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
6 m 5 m 4 m 3 m 2 m 1 m 7m 8 m 9 m 10 m
frequency
(GHz)
distance(m)

Fig. 11. Estimated path loss by RBFN as a function of distance and
frequency at 70m in NLOS
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P
a
t
h

l
o
s
s

(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN in NLOS
Measured path loss
distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
2 m 1 m 3 m 4 m 9 m 10 m 8 m 7 m 6 m 5 m
3-10GHz

Fig. 12. Estimated path loss by RBFN by using a portion of 0.05 % of data
set at level 70m in NLOS
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0
50
100
150
200
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated phase by RBF NN in NLOS
Measured Phase
distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
1 m 2 m 3 m 4 m 5 m 6 m 7 m 8 m 9 m 10 m

Fig. 13. Estimated phase by RBFN at level 70m in NLOS
The quantification of results by calculating the error shows
that even in case of NLOS propagation which is considered
more complex than LOS propagation, the RBFN model is able
to predict the path loss of the UWB channel in a mine envi-
ronment. Furthermore, the phase is modeled using RBFN
structure. In Figs. 13 and 14, we present the estimation of the
second RBFN output which is the phase. The red and blue
curves show the effectiveness of the model built using RBFN to
estimate this output. The value of the error calculated over the
number of estimated points is found equal to 8.8736°.
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0
20
40
60
80
100
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated phase by RBF NN in NLOS
Measured Phase
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m
frequency
(GHz)
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz
10m distance(m)

Fig. 14. Estimated phase by RBFN by using a portion of 0.05 % of data set
at level 70m in NLOS
3.4 Testing the performance of the neural network in a
mine gallery at level 40m in NLOS
As done in sub-section B, we now test the performance of the
RBFN model obtained by changing the mine level, i.e. in a new
environment. Fig. 15 presents the results of prediction the path
loss in NLOS propagation at level 40m, by the RBFN trained
and constructed using data at level 70m.
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P
a
t
h

l
o
s
s
(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN in NLOS at level 40m
Measured path loss
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m distance (m)
frequency
(GHz)
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz

Fig. 15. Estimated path loss by RBFN at level 40m in NLOS
The curve presenting the estimated path loss follows the
blue curve on the first and the second meters. Nevertheless, a
big gap is noticed while passing to the third and the fourth
meters, showing an error in predicting the path loss at these
distances. Beyond the fourth meter, the model succeeds in pre-
dicting the first output of the RBFN but with noticeable errors.
Moreover, fig. 16 presents the second output of the RBFN;
this simulation shows the inability of the RBFN trained at 70m
level in NLOS propagation to predict the channel behavior in a
new environment (at level 40m).
This problem may be linked to the structure of the mine at
40m. Some results obtained above show that the RBFN is some-
times unable to properly assess the outputs and notably in the
case of testing in an environment different from that used for
training. This problem motivated us to seek a solution to re-
7

duce errors, improve and refine our RBF neural network. For
this we suggest two solutions:
1. Design a neural network for each level separately, and
the choice of the network depends on the user‘s objec-
tives.
2. Design a new network using mixed learning, by includ-
ing the measurements made at both levels 40 and 70m.
-150
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated phase by RBF NN at 40m
Measured Phase
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m distance(m)
frequency
(GHz)
3-10GHz
3-10GHz
3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz 3-10GHz

Fig. 16. Estimated phase by RBFN at 40m in NLOS
3.5 Mixed learning of RBFN
Measurements made in two different levels 40m and 70m in
NLOS propagation are used to construct the RBF network. The
architecture of the network in this case will be different. In-
deed, the network receives three variables in the input layer,
the frequency, the distance and a flag that determines whether
the data is retrieved from the database at 40 m or at 70 m
(Fig.17). The spread of the Gaussian is equal to 0.1. The training
phase is accomplished using 5 % of data set, and the architec-
ture of the network is obtained and saved.

Fig. 17. Architecture of RBFN in mixed learning
-80
-75
-70
-65
-60
-55
-50
-45
-40
-35
P
a
t
h

L
o
s
s

(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN
Measured Path loss
Level 40m in LOS Level 70m in LOS
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m

Fig.18. Estimated path loss by RBFN in LOS
Simulation results in testing this RBFN with LOS and NLOS
propagation are presented below. The red curves, in Figs. 18
and 20, present the estimated path loss by this RBFN in LOS at
two levels, and the blue ones present the real values of path
loss; as is shown, a portion of data are retrieved from data at
70m and the second portion from data at 40m. The MSE are
calculated and are equal to 0.0016 dB and to 5.2749 dB in LOS
and NLOS respectively.
-200
-150
-100
-50
0
50
100
P
a
t
h

l
o
s
s
(
d
B
)


Path loss estimated by RBF NN
Measured Path loss
Level 70m in NLOS Level 40m in NLOS
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m 1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m

Fig. 19. Estimated path loss by RBFN in NLOS
-150
-100
-50
0
50
100
150
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated phase by RBF NN
Measured Phase
Level 40m in LOS Level 70m in LOS
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m 1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m

Fig 20. Estimated phase by RBFN in LOS
-1000
-800
-600
-400
-200
0
200
400
600
800
1000
P
h
a
s
e

(
d
e
g
r
e
e
)


Estimated phase by RBF NN
Measured phase
Level 70m in NLOS Level 40m in NLOS
1m 2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m 1m2m 3m 4m 5m 6m 7m 8m 9m 10m

Fig. 21. Estimated phase by RBFN in NLOS
Also, in figures 20 and 21, the real phase and the phase pre-
dicted by RBFN show good performance of the new model in
estimating the path loss. The values of calculated errors are
equal to 8.3017° and 12° in LOS and NLOS respectively.
These results with low errors show the ability of this ap-
proach to estimate and to model the UWB channel in a mine
environment regardless of the level of the gallery.
8

3.6 Channel capacity
To broaden our results, we also calculated the channel capaci-
ty. The capacity of a channel can be defined as the maximum
flow of information that can support the channel while ensur-
ing error-free transmission. The capacity of a UWB channel is
defined by [31]:
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ =
¿
=
2
0 1
2
) (
1 log
1
W N
f H P
M
C
k
M
k
(7)
where M is the number of frequency-domain samples,
is the frequency response of the channel, P is the
transmitted power distributed on the frequency band , N0 is a
zero-mean white Gaussian noise power spectral density, and
W is the bandwidth of the channel.
The channel capacities are computed for each distance as-
suming a SNR of 10 dB, and the results are shown in table I.
The table shows a low difference between the real and the es-
timated values; hence errors can be qualified as minimal. The
results show the accuracy of neural network in channel model-
ing; this is demonstrated by computing the channel capacity in
both LOS and NLOS propagation environments.

TABLE 1
UWB CHANNEL CAPACITY IN MINE ENVIRONMENT

4. CONCLUSIONS
Modeling a channel in a harsh and complex environment is a
complicated issue. Traditional methods present disadvantages
in terms of complexity, accuracy and storage capacity. Our
modeling process is based on a different approach i.e. an artifi-
cial neural network which allows modeling complex problems
in different fields by using few measurements and ensuring
high accuracy.
In this work, a RBFN was used to model the UWB channel
in an underground mine, and a training phase was applied
using few experimental data measurements conducted in an
underground mine environment where the frequency varied
between 3 and 10 GHz, and the transmitter-receiver distance
varied between 1 and 10m.
The results of estimating the path loss and the phase of the
received signal show the capacity of the RBF ANN and the effi-
ciency of this approach in estimating the radio channel fre-
quency using few data sets.
To achieve higher performance and accuracy, a new neural
model architecture was proposed by increasing the number of
its inputs to three, by adding a flag as a third input and using
both data sets made at 40m and at 70m in the training phase.
Also, the channel capacity is computed by using the outputs
of the RBFN; a comparison between the real and the estimated
values again showed the accuracy of our neural network mod-
els in channel modeling.
Moreover, this model presents another advantage owing to
its capacity to model the channel as a function of distance and
frequency; therefore for any frequency f and desired distance d,
the path loss and the phase can be estimated.
Nevertheless, the learning process may be slow (due to the
large number of neurons used in the hidden layer), but there is
no special requirement on time, since the model setup is done
offline. This work can be extended to estimate other channel
characteristics such as delay spread, coherence bandwidth,
Doppler spread, coherence time, etc.
Also, the ANN can be implemented in a hardware circuit
which then offers an emulator of the UWB channel in the mine
environment, thus supporting transceiver design.
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