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Should Service Providers cooperate when multiple hotspots are co-located?

How should Service Providers whose Wi-Fi hotspots share a location mitigate performance degradation?


As Service Providers roll out large public Wi-Fi networks, the search for suitable landlords willing to mount and power hotspot access points is becoming intense, and this often leads to the same set of targeted partners.   Large retail chains make good partners for hotspot Service Providers as they often have hundreds or thousands of locations in a given city, so there is competition to sign them up. 


The same concentration effect applies for the landlord.  A convenience store chain can make some pin-money by hosting a Service Provider’s access points.  And presumably more pin-money by hosting two Service Providers... and three Service Providers... and four...


We are coming across situations where, to take one instance, a retailing chain has contracts with no fewer than three Service Providers, so each shop has three access points within a small space, leading to potential interference between their signals...


Some of the questions we are puzzling over:

- Is this a problem?

- If so what should be done about it?

- Are existing interference-avoidance protocols sufficient?

- Should the SPs cooperate to use limited spectrum efficiently?

- Would this be detrimental to other users of the spectrum?

- Will 802.11u/HS2.0 change the situation?


Any suggestions?


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