The complexity of Shalinee Kishore’s project is enough to leave a layperson in tangles. Yet, it would benefit hilly and poorly-connected regions. Kishore’s project received support from the National Science Foundation in the form of a CAREER Award. The five-year grant is considered one of the top awards given to young professors in the United States.

Kishore’s research studies the usefulness of multi-tiered wireless networks in fulfilling the diverse communication requirements of users by equipping the networks with radios, whose coverage areas vary in their order of magnitude: higher-tier radios, which have larger coverage, extend the network’s reach while lower-tier radios target location-specific performance.

“I was very surprised and pleased to learn of the award. I was also glad to see the National Science Foundation recognize scientific work that aims to have direct impact on a traditionally disadvantaged community,” says Kishore, who is currently assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. “The overall goal of this research project is to develop techniques, trade-offs, and engineering rules for the deployment of spectrally-efficient multitier wireless networks. These design principles are aimed at meeting the needs (coverage, data rates, etc.) of the people they serve,” she explains.

In order to demonstrate the benefits of such systems, Kishore has chosen to use demographic and topographic data for Susquehanna County, a rural and technology-poor county in Northern Pennsylvania. The results will be used to devise a multitier network for that region, keeping in mind the extremely hilly propagation characteristics of the area; location of population centers; and communication requirements at these locations in order to better serve the needs of the county (e.g., provide satisfactory cellular coverage, deliver broadband access, promote distance learning initiatives).

“I hope to one day find its extendability to communications infrastructure development in India,” says Kishore of her project.