The use of existing measurements from a commercial wireless communication system as virtual sensors for environmental monitoring has recently gained increasing attention. In particular, measurements of the signal level of commercial microwave links (CMLs) used in the backhaul communication network of cellular systems are considered as opportunistic sensors for precipitation monitoring. Research results have demonstrated the feasibility of the suggested technique for the estimating and mapping of rain, as well as for monitoring other-than-rain phenomena. However, further advancement toward implementation and commercial use are heavily dependent on multidisciplinary collaborations: Communication and network engineers are needed to enable access to the existing measurements; signal processing experts can utilize the different data for improving the accuracy and the tempo-spatial resolution of the estimates; atmospheric scientists are responsible for the physical modeling; hydrologists, meteorologists, and others can contribute to the end uses; economists can indicate the potential benefits; etc. In this paper I will review state-of-the-art results and the open challenges, demonstrating the benefit to the public good from utilizing the opportunistic-sensing approach. I will also analyze the various obstacles on the way there.
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