WiSE - A Wireless System Engineering Tool

Steven J. Fortune

David M. Gay

Brian W. Kernighan

Orlando Landron

Reinaldo A. Valenzuela

Margaret H. Wright

Copyright (c) 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material in digital or hard copy form must be obtained from the IEEE. To copy or otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, to redistribute to lists, or to use any component of this work in other works for any purpose requires prior permission from the IEEE. A fee may be charged for re-use. Abstracting with credit is permitted. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than IEEE must be honored.

This paper is a preliminary version of the article WISE Design of Indoor Wireless Systems, which appeared in IEEE Computational Science and Engineering, 2, 1, pp. 58-68 (Spring, 1995). Published by the IEEE Computer Society, 10662 Los Vaqueros Circle, Los Alamitos, CA 90720, USA, TEL +1-714-821-8380, FAX +1-714-821-4010.


Indoor wireless communication systems--cordless and cellular phones, pagers, wireless networks, active tags and badges--are increasingly popular, and several business units are interested in design tools. This paper describes WiSE, a system for designing indoor and microcell (``campus'') wireless systems:

  • Prediction: Given building data (wall locations and composition), system parameters, and base-station locations, WiSE determines system performance (e.g., received power, delay spread) throughout the building or at specific points. Through improved geometric algorithms prediction run-times depend more on the number of useful rays than on the exponential number of possible rays.
  • Optimization: Given parameters and system requirements (e.g., signal strength threshold), WiSE determines base-station locations to maximize the fraction of the building over which the performance requirement is met.
  • Interaction: The WiSE user interface displays plan, elevation and perspective views of a building, and shows signal strength throughout the building. Parameters can be adjusted and base-station and portable locations can be set interactively.
    The figure below shows predicted coverage of a small office building with two base stations. The color scale shows local mean signal strength at each location, and illustrates some of the non-obvious patterns caused by reflections off walls, floor and ceiling.

    WiSE has been used for a wide variety of buildings, from small office suites to large buildings like AT&T's Middletown facility and the New York Stock Exchange. Predictions have been validated with local mean signal strength measurements in three AT&T office buildings; prediction error has been within 6 dB in both mean and standard deviation. WiSE runs on Unix systems with X-Windows and (in a more restricted and preliminary form) on PC's under Microsoft Windows.

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