“Location theory” research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) will directly aid France Telecom (Orange Labs R&D) in determining the optimal placement of its routers. France Telecom is Europe’s third largest telecommunications company and one of the largest in the world.

According to an agreement signed at the end of April, France Telecom will collaborate with Prof. Michael Segal of the Israeli university’s department of communications system engineering. The goal is to provide nearly 210 million customers in 32 countries with the best possible network performance.

Segal is one of only a few researchers worldwide who are attempting to apply location theory’s complex algorithms and statistical data to improving communications networks.

“We will look at factors such as user demand, historical use in particular neighborhoods – whether there was heavier use in the morning or evening – and bandwidth, among others,” Segal said.

The placement of routers is critical for customer satisfaction. For example, if a router is too far from a customer’s house, the customer will experience delays in the streaming of video on demand, Segal explained.

The location theory contract is the first specific project to emerge from a general cooperation agreement signed last year by France Telecom and BGU.

A native of Moldova, Segal has bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from BGU. For the past several years, he has been working on research in the area of mobile wireless networks and security.