In the first stages of the eCity project partners have been involved in the proposal and refinement of a set of problems to be fitted into the simulation engine. Not all the problems were suitable for development. Therefore, in order to provide a reusable and sustainable solution, a collection of problems was proposed sharing a general common structure with the main objective to cover many engineering fields. This newsletter introduces some of the problems considered in E-City.

Mobile connection in E-city

The learning goal of the network connection problem is to provide a view of how a mobile network works. Students will use a game/simulation application to deploy the different elements that made up a mobile network on a map. The application should show the coverage area, taking into account the behavior of the system according to different scenarios.

The game is introduced as an initial contact with the basics of the design of mobile network (MN). Within the complexity of the infrastructure of mobile networks, MNs allow certain abstractions so a simple game scenario can be proposed.

Students will have to select the type of cluster and hardware elements (only antennas to simplify) that form each cell (coverage area). In general, they will learn about cell concepts, cell’s distribution, etc. In Fig.1 we can see a cell example. In this way, students will have the opportunity to learn about the deployment of MN taking into account how it impacts on the provided service and the budget of the company, and about the sustainability of the MN over time, as long as the working conditions vary.

The gameplay will only require the ability of point-and-click, and some mathematical knowledge (i.e. estimate equipment costs). Students will only have to test things and check what happens. Further explanations can be done after the game is played, answering students’ questions. Teachers can explain how the obstacles affect to the coverage area, for example. It may be interesting to have knowledge of physics to understand the behavior of antennas in the different scenarios too.

A simple gameplay description could be:

· Students will have to decide the frequency band of the antenna and radius (R) too. Then he has to locate the antenna in some place.

· Each area will have a population and this value will be given by the game. Furthermore, the number of channels by cluster (N) will be a given value. Each cell will have N available channels.

  • With all this information, in each area students should place the necessary antennas. When an area has an antenna, the color of this area changes to show a coverage indicator.
  • To calculate profits we will suppose that a percentage of the population (X%) makes a call in the busy hour. These calls will have an average duration, for example Z minutes. Each cluster will have a blocking probability, Pb. Then, using the following equation, profits will be obtained.