The case for robotic wireless networks

Mahanth Gowda, Ashutosh Dhekne, Romit Roy Choudhury

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


This paper explores the possibility of injecting mobility into wireless network infrastructure. We envision WiFi access points on wheels that move to optimize user performance. Movements need not be all around the floor, neither do they have to operate on batteries. As a first step, WiFi APs at home could remain tethered to power and Ethernet outlets while moving in small areas (perhaps under the couch). If such systems prove successful, perhaps future buildings and cities could offer explicit support for network infrastructure mobility. This paper begins with a higher level discussion of robotic wireless networks - the opportunities and the hurdles - and then pivots by developing a smaller slice of the vision through a system called iMob. With iMob, aWiFi AP ismounted on a Roomba robot and made to periodically move within a 2x2 sqft region. The core research questions pertain to finding the best location to move to, such that the SNRs fromits clients are strong, and the interferences fromother APs are weak. Our measurements show that the richness of wireless multipath offers significant opportunities - even within a 2x2 sqft region, locations exist that are 1.7x better than the average location in terms of throughput. When multiple APs in a neighborhood coordinate, the gains can be even higher. In sum, although infrastructure mobility has been discussed in the context of Google Balloons, ad hoc networks, and delay tolerant networks, we believe that the possibility of moving our personal devices in homes and offices is relatively unexplored, and could open doors to new kinds of innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016
PublisherInternational World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450341431
StatePublished - 2016
Event25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Apr 11 2016Apr 15 2016

Publication series

Name25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016


Other25th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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