Seamless internet 3G and opportunistic WLAN vehicular connectivity


Most of the cellular network operators are nowadays striving to solve the problem caused by the increasing demand of mobile data users. In the near future, vehicles will be equipped not only with cellular connectivity, but also with dedicated short-range wireless devices, used to connect via single or multiple hops to fixed road side units attached to the infrastructure network to gain Internet access. Taking this hybrid-connectivity scenario, we propose S eamless I nternet 3G and Opportunistic WL AN V ehicular I nternet Co nnectivity (SILVIO), a solution for providing Internet connectivity in multi-hop vehicular ad hoc networks. Vehicles use the cellular network to assure always-on connectivity, while they opportunistically select to offload some non-critical flows to the multi-hop wireless local area network (WLAN). The advantages of this approach are twofold: the users can benefit from a higher bandwidth, while the operators can alleviate their overloaded cellular networks. SILVIO makes use of existing standard mobility mechanisms integrated, enhanced and extended to provide a seamless connectivity experience without introducing much complexity nor signalling overhead. One of the main contributions of this article is the proposal and analysis of different handover strategies between 3G and multi-hop WLAN networks for the vehicular scenario. A trace-driven simulator was developed to evaluate the performance improvements provided by SILVIO. Real traffic traces from the city of Madrid were used to feed the simulator which considers large vehicles as obstacles, as well. The obtained results show that using SILVIO the cellular network can be offloaded by a factor up to 80%.

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking