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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evaluating Service System Coverage of Wireless Internet Access

  • Author(s): Pludow, Bryce Amelia
  • Advisor(s): Murray, Alan T
  • et al.

Spatial optimization and facility location models have been structured for a wide variety of applications in order to mimic real world service systems as closely as possible, often with an eye towards maximizing efficiency while reducing costs. Telecommunications is an important aspect of most people’s daily lives and figures prominently in access to the Internet through wireless technologies. From a location modeling perspective, wireless access points are a type of facility with several unique characteristics. First, access points provide service coverage that is often three-dimensional in nature, rather than planar. Without obstructions, the service area of an individual access point would be spherical, but obstacles in the form of building materials, furnishings, and vegetation all affect the propagation of signal coverage. Beyond service performance characteristics, there is a range of legacy and technical conditions that must be considered in the design, reconfiguration, and upgrade of wireless services. This paper examines wireless service provision on a university campus. Location coverage models are used to support analysis and planning efforts. Service system evaluation investigates context and technological considerations. The findings suggest that there are varying levels of wireless access facilities across the campus, driven in part by system history and evaluation as well as fragmented decision making processes. Rearrangement provides opportunity for strategically enhancing the system’s quality of service.

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