Lamppost in cities to find use to attach Wi-Fi equipment, explain researchers


Streetlight poles may serve to be an important asset for installing Wi-Fi poles in cities, and at higher frequencies.

For Wi-Fi networks to work well, researchers at National Institute of standards and Technology have developed and substantiated a new model that helps wireless communication providers to analyze the height at which Wi-Fi equipment need to be attached to light poles.

Meanwhile, the team discovered that the optimal height depends on antenna design and transmission frequency. Wi-Fi equipment at lower heights of approximately 4 meters is better for traditional wireless systems with omnidirectional antennas, whereas height of 6 meters or 9 meters is better for latest systems such as 5G using narrow-beam antennas and millimeter-wave frequencies.

Importantly, the Telecom Infra Project – an international group is promoting the idea of making Wi-Fi available over unlicensed 60 gigahertz frequency band by installing access points on light poles.

On the downside, signals in the band, which are higher than conventional cellphone frequencies, and are sparse that tend to spread off rough surfaces is a technical challenge.

In fact, so far, measurements of 60 GHz urban channels have generated limited data. The team of researchers at NIST developed a channel model to track transmissions that recognizes the scattering, sparse features of Wi-Fi signals, and uses a new algorithms to analyze measured paths that extend beyond the normal parameters of signal delays and angles to encompass receiver locations. The prediction accuracy of the model is comparable to that of more complex techniques.

In order to test the model against real channel measurements, NIST researchers travelled to Colorado. The measurement of Wi-Fi signal was recorded at antenna heights of 4, 6, and 9 meter to examine the trade-offs. The findings of the model matched well with real world values.

Edward Turner

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