Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tools for mapping Mesh Extender coverage

In previous tests of the Mesh Extenders we were manually noting the signal strength at various locations, and then drawing maps by hand to get an idea of the coverage.

Thanks to the great work by one of our students, Loïc, we now have a nice tool that lets us collect GPS traces annotated with Mesh Extender signal strength.

Now we can collect continuous traces of signal strength very easily.  Here is one where Loïc put one Mesh Extender on a hills hoist in a suburban back-yard, and set about riding around the neighbourhood with the other Mesh Extender in his backpack to see how it performed:

The ability to quickly deploy Mesh Extenders without great care or aiming is well illustrated in this situation.

A map of the signal strength is visible below.  Red and brown means no link, while orange through blue is progressively stronger signal.

As in previous tests, we see coverage of a couple of hundred metres in typical suburban conditions, reaching to a radius of around ten houses, and thus covering approximately 25x - 100x as many houses as Wi-Fi.

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