Alex Hills

Distinguished Service Professor – EPP Courtesy Professor – ECE
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Office 129F Baker Hall
Telephone (907)-232-6088
Fax (412)-268-3757

Research Interests

Dr. Alex Hills and his team built the world's first big Wi-Fi network. As described in his book, Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio, the team overcame major obstacles to create the first wireless campus. It was an unheard of idea when Hills started the project in 1993. The new network, which came to be called “Wireless Andrew,” was the prototype used by many others to build Wi-Fi networks now in use around the world.

Before he joined Carnegie Mellon, Professor Hills spent several years living in remote areas of Alaska and working to provide modern broadcasting and telecommunications services to the many small villages spread across the big state. He fought Alaska’s difficult weather and terrain, and helped to persuade some reluctant executives, in order to make the services possible. He tells of these adventures in his latest book, Finding Alaska’s Villages: And Connecting Them.

Dr. Hills is actively involved in international development. As a senior advisor to the "Technology Consulting in the Global Community" program, he works with Carnegie Mellon students on a broad array of projects in developing nations. This work is described in his book Geeks on a Mission. And it was the subject of his keynote speech at the 2015 Information Networking Institute graduation ceremony.

He has written and lectured on the potential for wireless to deliver basic telephone service in the developing world and on its implications for anytime-anywhere computing. He has broad experience in information technology, including both technical and business aspects. And he is an expert in telecommunications policy, which encompasses aspects of engineering, law and economics

Working with colleagues, Professor Hills also developed a methodology for designing Wi-Fi networks. He invented a semi-automated design tool called "Rollabout" to dramatically improve and speed up the Wi-Fi network design process. He holds 18 patents and has helped industry partners to improve the performance of their Wi-Fi equipment and networks.

Dr. Hills has also served as Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer at Carnegie Mellon, founding director of the university's Information Networking Institute, Alaska's Deputy Commissioner of Administration and chief telecommunications official, and a US Army officer and company commander in South Korea.

 Alex  Hills

Carnegie Mellon, 1989

Research Area

Signals and Systems


Research in wireless technology and telecommunications policy


PhD, 1979
Engineering and Public Policy
Carnegie Mellon University

MS, 1969
Electrical Engineering
Arizona State University

BS, 1964
Electrical Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute