Better WLAN with Robots

With the uprise of ultra mobile hand-held devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearables, high performing wireless connectivity has become an important aspect of our daily lives. In indoors, this connectivity is usually provided by WLAN infrastructures. The WLAN technology has gone through a rapid maturation process in the recent years and reaches very high data throughputs. Those high rates are, however, very sensitive to well-behaving link qualities. Whenever the link quality drops below a certain signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR), the performance of the link will also drop dramatically and cannot be improved in most scenarios.

For those cases, we have developed an autonomous mobile extension to static infrastructure that can be sent out to find a proper point in space to redirect the traffic – so called relaying or forwarding. Doing so we have achieved very promising results to improve the situation for clients suffering from poor connections.

An Infrastructure for Automated BAN Experimentation

We demonstrate an infrastructure for experimenting with Body Area Network (BAN) communication protocols and applications without the involvement of human test-person. The core of our infrastructure consists of a mobile robot, on which a simplistic human structure equipped with BAN nodes is located. This set-up can emulate human movements within a controlled RF interference in-door environment. Both, the robot movements and the RF environment, can be remotely controlled via standard Internet access. As a representative usage example, we compare different frequency selection schemes for BAN communication.

More can be found in the demo paper presented at 10th European Conference on Wireless Sensor Networks (EWSN‘13). This demonstration got Best Demo Award at the conference.