Wireless research leads
to indoor planning tool
Research on indoor wireless propagation
in the Department's Mobile and Portable
Radio Research Group (MPRG) has led to the development of the first
commercially available indoor/microcellular Site Modeling Tool. Called SMT Plus, the software
helps planners with indoor site selection, system bidding and preliminary
wireless system design.
"As researchers and industrial developers get more experience with
wireless communications systems, they have found that planning techniques
developed for the outdoors, do not work indoors," said Roger Skidmore
a graduate student involved in the project. "Instead of wide open spaces,
they have tight, closed areas with equipment such as microwave ovens and
refrigerators that create interference noise."
Critical factors in indoor wireless systems include how the building
is used, the type and placement of walls, and what equipment is used in
"When establishing indoor or outdoor/indoor systems, planners generally
make educated guesses as to how many transmitters are needed and where they
should be put. Then they tweak the system and over-engineer it - which ends
up costing more than it should," he explained.
With SMT Plus, planners can develop an accurate simulation with basic
information about the building. The software draws coverage contours directly
onto building floor plans, enabling designers to visualize the performance
of the proposed system.
Skidmore explained that the development of SMT Plus resulted from MPRG
expertise in path loss prediction and wireless simulations, and discussions
with corporate affiliates about issues that will emerge in the future. "There
is so much happening in the wireless field, however, that the time between
university research and commercial applications has been compressed,"
he said. "Turnaround these days seems like it's just weeks." SMT
Plus was developed by Skidmore and Professors Ted
Rappaport and Lynn