An investigation of the impact of signal strength on Wi-Fi link throughput through propagation measurement

Lo, Eric Cheng-Chung
Sarkar, Nurul I
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Master of Computer and Information Sciences
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Auckland University of Technology

Wireless local area networks (WLANs) play an increasingly significant role in providing ubiquitous network services in contemporary society due to their mobility and cable free usage. It is more challenging to maintain higher throughput of WLANs than wired networks. In this dissertation, an experimental investigation of the impact of signal strength on Wi-Fi link throughput in an obstructed office environment is reported. Due to the complexity and unpredictable nature of radio signal propagation, it is difficult to derive real and accurate signal strength and link throughput by analytical modelling and computer simulation. The received signal strength (RSS), attenuation and path loss depends on the propagation environment. The location of an access point (AP) has a significant effect on WLAN performance. An appropriate AP placement is required to obtain greater performance of WLANs. Through extensive radio propagation measurements, the results demonstrated both the relationship of signal strengths with the Wi-Fi link throughput; and optimum AP placement. This research carried out some significant contributions. Firstly, the results revealed that not only WLAN throughput depends on RSS, but also on factors such as the distance and the obstruction between a transmitter and a receiver, and the nature of radio propagation. In addition, the experimental measurements deduced the optimum locations for AP placement in the crowded office environment. A rich database which has been developed contains RSS and throughput for a similar WLAN environment with the intent of using it for AP placement. Furthermore, two different kinds of AP configuration solutions re proposed for Wi-Fi deployment including “wireless distribution system (WDS) with AP mode” and “AP mode” with Ethernet connection in the obstructed office block. The above solutions will meet different user requirements and application behaviours. The capacity evaluation of WLAN is also discussed. Finally, some practical guidelines have been recommended for AP deployment in the obstructed office environment.

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