Engineering Wireless Friendly Buildings

Kevin W. Sowerby
Associate Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
The University of Auckland
New Zealand

 :  15 Feb 2013 (Fri)
 :  4:00-5:00pm
Venue  :  Classroom 2404 (2/F via Lifts 17-18)
Academic Building
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

The growing popularity of indoor wireless communication systems places increasing stress on the limited frequency spectrum available for such services.  Meanwhile, users expect greater capacity and performance from their indoor systems. The challenge for the engineer is to create “wireless friendly” buildings that aid the delivery of high quality, high capacity wireless services in the presence of other cochannel systems.
Measurement results show that simple architectural modifications to building interiors, such as the installation of metallic screens, can alter the propagation of signals dramatically. If used appropriately, desired signal propagation can be enhanced and interference blocked. However, a more sophisticated approach to interference control is the use of frequency selective surfaces (FSSs). These surfaces can be installed as wallpaper and isolate the indoor system from external cochannel systems, while still allowing other radio services to operate normally. A variety of frequency selective surfaces have been designed, prototyped and measured.  Recent work quantifying the benefits of FSSs with respect to potential frequency reuse (or system capacity) within a building will also be presented.
Kevin W. Sowerby has been a faculty member in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Auckland since 1990. Last year he completed a four-year term as Deputy Head of the Department and is now approaching the end of 12 months of Research & Study Leave. He has spent the last year in the USA (primarily at Georgia Tech), The Netherlands (with the Dutch government research laboratory TNO) and, since November, at HKUST.  His research interests include the area of wireless communications systems and, in particular, methods for designing reliable high-capacity networks. He has taught at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate engineering programmes and has supervised more than 20 PhD students. Within the IEEE he founded the Communications Society New Zealand Chapter, served as the Section Chair for the New Zealand North Section and as Chair for the New Zealand Council. He is currently the Asia-Pacific representative on the IEEE Admissions and Advancement Committee.