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A networking researcher interested in the challenges of infrastructure at the end of the tail of connectivity


The radio interfaces and network architectures of WiFi and cellular systems are converging along many dimensions. While both systems are largely adopting the centralized architecture of traditional cellular deployments, this design comes with fundamental disadvantages that limit how these networks grow and develop. As a response, we present Distributed LTE (dLTE), an architecture offering the high radio performance of licensed and coordinated waveforms as well as the openness to organic expansion and growth of traditional WiFi. We challenge the assumption that good performance requires a centralized packet processing core, and propose hybrid approaches to coordination that prioritize system openness. We argue that dLTE is a particularly good fit for rural areas, where the LTE waveform is more appropriate than WiFi, yet it is uneconomical for centralized providers to deploy traditional cellular systems.


Matthew Johnson, Spencer Sevilla, Esther Jang, and Kurtis Heimerl. 2018. DLTE: Building a more WiFi-like Cellular Network: (Instead of the Other Way Around). In Proceedings of the 17th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets ’18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 8–14. DOI:

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Currently a grad student at the University of Washington in the ICTD Lab...