Infrastructure mobility: A what-if analysis

Mahanth Gowda, Nirupam Roy, Romit Roy Choudhury

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


Mobile computing has traditionally implied mobile clients connected to a static infrastructure. This paper breaks away from this point of view and envisions the possibility of injecting mobility into infrastructure. We envision a WiFi access point on wheels, that moves to optimize desired performance metrics. Movements need not necessarily be all around the floor of a home or office, neither do they have to operate on batteries, or connect wirelessly to the Internet. At homes, they could remain tethered to power and Ethernet outlets while moving in small areas (perhaps under the study table). In offices of the future, perhaps APs could move on tracks installed on top of false ceilings. This paper explores the viability of this vision and presents early measurements from various home/office environments. We find that complex multipath characteristics of indoor environments cause large fluctuations in link quality even when the antenna moves in the scale of few centimeters. Mobile APs can leverage this spatial variation by relocating to a location that is strong for its own clients and yet weak from its interferers. Experiment results show that such micro-mobility itself can offer up to 2x throughput gains. Additional opportunities may emerge, such as in energy savings, security, QoS, and even in applications such as indoor localization. While this paper explores a small fraction of the landscape of opportunities, the results have been far more promising than what we had anticipated originally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, HotNets 2014
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450332569
StatePublished - Oct 27 2014
Event13th ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, HotNets 2014 - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: Oct 27 2014Oct 28 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 13th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, HotNets 2014


Other13th ACM SIGCOMM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks, HotNets 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles


  • Channel Diversity
  • Mobility
  • Robotics
  • Wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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