Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Jeff Frolik

Abstract

Modern society relies heavily on communication networks that in turn rely on both wired and wireless infrastructure. This work pertains to scenarios where a group of people or robots need to communicate in an environment where there is no preexisting communications infrastructure. These include sites of emergencies and disasters (e.g., inside burning buildings, search and rescue operations) and unexplored areas on Earth and other planets. Wireless ad hoc or mesh networks offer the ability to keep such entities connected, but they falter when any single entity wishes to leave the developed coverage area. Utilizing mobile repeater nodes can help, but is costly and complicated. By eliminating the need for repeater nodes to traverse the environment, their size and cost can be vastly reduced. This work explores the use of static "breadcrumb" repeater nodes to increase the reach of such a network.

Determining when and where to place a static repeater node can be difficult in an environment where radio propagation characteristics are unknown. In this work, several algorithms for node placement are compared under the constraint that placement of a static repeater node should not dictate the entity's movement. The algorithms investigated range from calculating rolling averages to modeling channel parameters on-the-fly. The placement algorithms were configured to run in real-time on TP-Link MR-3040 portable WiFi routers and the approach is demonstrated in an outdoor uncharacterized environment.

Language

en

Number of Pages

109 p.