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Design And Development Of A New Wireless Cell Site For Powertel: A Multimedia Case Study

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.376.1 - 9.376.11

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Paper Authors

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Chetan Sankar

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P.K. Raju

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session #1526

Design and Development of a New Wireless Cell Site for Powertel: A Multimedia Case Study

Chetan S. Sankar, Department of Management P.K. Raju, Department of Mechanical Engineering Auburn University

Abstract The Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education (LITEE) at Auburn University develops multimedia case studies that bring real-world issues into classrooms. These case studies are currently being used at different universities in order to show the students the integration of business and engineering theory and practice. This paper illustrates a case study they developed in partnership with Powertel (now called as T-Mobile), a wireless service provider.

In March of 2001, Powertel began a new rate plan to attract customers. The response to the new rate plan resulted in 40% growth in network traffic in a month. A particular area of interest to Powertel was the intersection of Interstate 459 and Highway 280 in Birmingham, AL. This intersection, one of the most congested areas in Birmingham, had constant traffic jams. This intersection experienced more dropped calls and busy signals than was acceptable to Powertel’s customers, and something had to be done.

The potential cost of building a cell site ranged anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million. The RF engineers analyzed the problem and chose two possible solutions: add a new site on the Summit, or expand the existing site on the rooftop of the Sheraton, which was right beside the intersection. The Summit site provided higher amount of coverage, but did not allow for reuse of frequency in nearby cell sites. The Sheraton site provided a limited amount of coverage, but allowed the frequency to be reused in a nearby cell site. The managers and engineers had to decide the best option and implement it within a short time so that customers could be served better.

A multimedia case study was developed based on this problem. It was administered in a Business-Engineering-Technology program course and an Information Technology course at Auburn University. The perception of the students on the ability of this case study to teach topics in wireless technologies was excellent and the results are provided in the paper.

Introduction Contemporary engineering design and industrial practice has undergone a drastic change in this information age where the machinery, processes, control systems, and services are information technology-driven. We use the term information technology (IT) to refer to any use of machine technology that is controlled by or uses information in some important way.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright @2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Sankar, C., & Raju, P. (2004, June), Design And Development Of A New Wireless Cell Site For Powertel: A Multimedia Case Study Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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