Automated antenna positioning algorithms for wireless fixed-access networks

Yehuda Ben-Shimol, Boaz Ben-Moshe, Yoav Ben-Yehezkel, Amit Dvir, Michael Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article addresses a real-life problem - obtaining communication links between multiple base station sites, by positioning a minimal set of fixed-access relay antenna sites on a given terrain. Reducing the number of relay antenna sites is considered critical due to substantial installation and maintenance costs. Despite the significant cost saved by eliminating even a single antenna site, an inefficient manual approach is employed due to the computational complexity of the problem. From the theoretical point of view we show that this problem is not only NP hard, but also does not have a constant approximation. In this paper we suggest several alternative automated heuristics, relying on terrain preprocessing to find educated potential points for positioning relay stations. A large-scale computer-based experiment consisting of approximately 7,000 different scenarios was conducted. The quality of alternative solutions was compared by isolating and displaying factors that were found to affect the standard deviation of the solutions supplied by the tested heuristics. The results of the simulation based experiments show that the saving potential increases when more base stations are needed to be interconnected. The designs of a human expert were compared to the automatically generated solutions for a small subset of the experiment scenarios. Our studies indicate that for small networks (e.g., connecting up to ten base stations), the results obtained by human experts are adequate although they rarely exceed the quality of automated alternatives. However, the process of obtaining these results in comparison to automated heuristics is longer. In addition, when more base station sites need to be interconnected, the human approach is easily outperformed by our heuristics, both in terms of better results (fewer antennas) and in significant shorter calculation times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-263
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Heuristics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • Automated antenna positioning
  • Fixed-access wireless networks
  • Rural areas
  • Terrain preprocessing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Artificial Intelligence


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