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The Texas Perks of Propagation

Contributor: Dwayne Goodman – Wireless Engineer*

As the expansion of broadband access into unserved areas continues, providers are faced with a litany of questions regarding the best practices for facilitating a reliable last-mile solution.  Such questions may include identification of potential subscriber locations, how to reach them, types of equipment to be used, and ways to minimize truck rolls.  Profitability requires keeping road-time down and customer installation numbers high.  

 src= order to maximize the opportunity of streamlining customer installations, a wireless Internet service provider (or WISP), for example, might first communicate their coverage area to the potential subscribers, collect the valuable data needed to make informed decisions, and optimize these processes by analyzing installation and customer service practices.

During the communication and outreach activities, a survey may be conducted in order to obtain address information from the interested parties, which can then be “geocoded.”  “Geocoding” describes the process of assigning geographic coordinates (e.g. latitude-longitude) to street addresses or other points. Potential customers can be pinpointed by overlaying geocoded address locations atop an engineering map tool, called a propagation study.

Once this data has been collected and processed, a WISP can begin to analyze information to determine which potential subscribers (i) fall within the indicated areas of the propagation studies, (ii) have the greatest probability of receiving fixed wireless service, and (iii) are outside of the proposed coverage area, or may require specialized equipment during the installation.

Utilization of propagation studies can help a WISP minimize expense associated with “pre-qualification site surveys” which are generally completed in advance of the actual installation.  By using a propagation study, a WISP is better able to conduct “desktop” analysis and can sometimes eliminate the need for a pre-qualification site survey. 

To learn more about these and other engineering tools, visit


*Dwayne Goodman served as a Wireless Engineer for Connected Nation’s Engineering & Technical Services Division.  He works with each of the state's broadband providers to gather the vital data needed to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and to promote broadband access, adoption, and use in all areas of the state.
Connected Texas is an independent, public & private initiative working to ensure that all can experience the benefits of broadband. Technology, especially widespread access, use and adoption of broadband, improves all areas of life. Connected Texas invites you to join us in changing communities and lives across Texas.