Underestimation of path loss when planning the deployment of 802.11n APs can lead to coverage gaps and user dissatisfaction. The use of Free Space Path Loss modelling can sometimes lead to underestimation of path loss in urban environments when the effect of small scale fading is not considered. A field experiment was conducted with the aim to investigate the applicability of the ITU-R P.1141-7 Recommendation in path loss estimation of 802.11n signals in an urban environment in Malaysia. The results showed that Section 4.3 of ITU-R P.1411-7 can estimate the path loss of 802.11n signals with very low error margins of between 0 dB and 5 dB for transmitter receiver distances of 50 m and more. At these distances, the average difference of path loss estimation between FSPL and measured path loss is approximately 18 dB. The study concludes that 802.11n APs may need to be placed at closer proximities than previously assumed if FSPL is used to model the path loss. This is to ensure that targeted traffic is actually offloaded; coverage gaps are reduced; user satisfaction is improved.
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