Kansas University researchers, along with Sprint Nextel and Sunflower Broadband, will be studying ways to improve high-speed wireless technology.
KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center is leading research to see the correlation of millimeter wave communication systems and weather events that weaken signals and disrupt service.
"Sprint Nextel future products will require extensive bandwidth to be differentiated in the emerging world of 4G (fourth generation) communication, or the mobile Internet," Tim Euler, Sprint Nextel senior technology strategist, said in a statement.
"This demand will be met with alternative technologies like millimeter wave and network meshing techniques to ensure high reliability of the Sprint Nextel brand."
Researchers are collecting meteorological data such as rain rates, relative humidity and rain droplet size at Sunflower Broadband sites around Lawrence and on the KU campus. These results will be analyzed by KU's geography department.
Donna Tucker, co-researcher and professor of geography, said various substances in the air could affect the performance of these networks. By collecting data over an eight- to nine-month period, Tucker said results will cover everything from summer thunderstorms to winter snow.
The results would eventually be used to determine how much precipitation in the air is required before a broadband wireless signal has to be rerouted.