"Wireless mesh networks are systems of wireless access points interconnected in a mesh to provide digital services to client devices via radio transmission. We consider the challenges of quickly and optimally designing a wireless mesh network. We focus on maximizing client coverage area by choice of access point locations, subject to constraints on network service, quantity and technical capabilities of access points, environmental information, and radio propagation over terrain. We create a nondifferentiable, non-convex, nonlinear optimization problem to quantify the value of a given network, and use a sampling algorithm to quickly find very good solutions. We conduct field tests using commercial equipment in real-world scenarios, and conclude our technique can provide working wireless mesh network topologies. Our techniques and associated decision support tool can be used by humanitarian assistance or disaster relief personnel and combat communications planners to quickly design wireless mesh networks. The decision support tool runs on a laptop computer, accepts map data in a generic file format, creates network topologies for virtually any type of terrain and mesh access point device, and does not require any additional software or solver licenses."
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