Outdoor IEEE 802.11ah Range Characterization using Validated Propagation Models


IEEE 802.11ah is the new sub-1 GHz Wi-Fi standard, targeting large-scale and dense deployments of low-power stations. One of its major improvements compared to previous 802.11 standards, is its ability to scale to thousands of stations per access point. Cost-effective evaluation at such a scale is only possible using simulation, which requires realistic path loss models and hardware parameters. In this paper, we evaluate seven path loss models, based on a large scale sub-urban measurement campaign, including macro line-of- sight (LoS), pico LoS, and pico non-LoS with different as well as equal antenna height deployments. For each of the four resulting scenarios, the most accurate model is determined and used in combination with radio transceiver parameters obtained from actual 802.11ah station hardware to determine MAC-layer throughput and packet loss as a function of distance. The standard promises a range of up to 1 km at 150 kbps. Our results paint a less optimistic picture. When using realistic hardware parameters ranges up to 450 and 130 m can be achieved for a near LoS macro and pico deployment scenario respectively. For the non-LoS pico scenario ranges of 80 and 150 m can be achieved for transmitter at height 12 m and transmitter at heights 1.5 m respectively. With an ideal hardware configuration that operates at the maximum allowed transmission power, this could ideally be increased to 1700, 490, 300 and 550 m respectively.

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