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Broadband Wireless Communication

In Vehicles

P. Sarath Kumar M. Naga Seshu
06001A0408 06001A0422
Mob: 9885149350 Mob: 9966970495
sarathkumar.hi@gmail.com seshu.422@gmail.com
Department of Electronics and communications engineering,



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Abstract: demand. On the other hand, mobile and wireless

Today our society is struggling more and more with technologies have experienced an unprecedented boom

environmental and economic problems related to the in the last decade. One of the big challenges yet to

ever-increasing traffic on our highways and in our come is to merge these two worlds into an all-IP

cities. The resulting traffic jams give rise to waste of worldwide communication network. Mobile users want

time and money and are polluting our environment at a to move freely without any disruption in their active

rapid pace. As a result, carpooling and public transport multimedia applications: they demand the same quality

will be strongly encouraged by governments and of service as in the case of wired access. This will

industry. In order to make this more attractive to the enable car-poolers and commuters to continue their

frequent commuter, novel technologies for providing professional activities from their mobile terminal on

virtual offices or virtual homes in vehicles need to be their way to their job or during a business trip (virtual

developed. In order to provide high-bit-rate interactive \office), to be connected to their personal home network

multimedia services to fast-moving mobile users, one (virtual home), to participate via video conferencing at

has to reuse the limited radio spectrum as efficiently as a meeting, to watch a streaming video during a long

possible. This is made possible by using a cellular trip, to play interactive video games, to have continuous

network with very small cells resulting in a high reuse access to tourist information, etc.,. There are already

factor of the frequency spectrum. This will result signs that in hot spots, with low user mobility, this is

however in frequent handovers (typically every few technically feasible, relying, for example, on the

seconds) because mobile devices may move very fast, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)

crossing many cell boundaries. and public wireless local area networks (WLANs). But
for mobile terminals moving at vehicular speeds, the so-
This paper discusses the major issues called ‘virtual office’ or ‘virtual home’ is far from a
related to broadband wireless communication in reality. In this paper we discuss the problems we are
vehicles, with special emphasis on the handover facing and how they could be tackled.
protocols and smart antennas and their influence on the The Pitfalls
quality of services of (QOS) of offered services
Bandwidth shortage
The common literature on wireless and cellular systems
is clear about one thing: the available bandwidth, in
terms of bit rate, for mobile users moving at vehicular
There is no doubt that the Internet is one of the biggest
speeds is inversely related to their velocity (Figure 1)
success stories in the history of information and
This implies that the popular Internet applications are
communication technology .Due to its elegant design, it
not yet available at vehicular speeds, due to the lack of
can not only offer us the World Wide Web and email
high bandwidth and quality of service. When today’s
but also various multimedia services like
commuters, for example in a train or in a car, want to
videoconferencing, online gaming and video on
access the Internet, they see themselves restricted to
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simple web surfing or email. Table 1 shows the data rate. This complicates traffic engineering and
requirements of some multimedia Internet applications quality of service (QoS) support mechanisms a lot. In
in terms of required data rate, maximum tolerable delay, addition to the popular multimedia services that are
maximum tolerable packet loss and IP traffic behavior. common on the Internet today, the availability of high
Interactive multimedia services like online gaming and bandwidth for passengers in a vehicle could open up a
provide video conferencing are still unavailable to world of new applications and revenues for the
them, even with promising new technologies like providers. For example, weather and road conditions
UMTS or WLAN. We further note that some could be announced to the cars on a regular basis or fast
applications, such as video, are not yet adapted for and reliable medical assistance could be supplied to
transmission over the Internet. Today’s available video ambulances, and, last but not least, the infotainment
codes (such as MPEG) are optimized for minimal data industry could open up a new market for offering tourist
storage and lead to very non-uniform data traffic with information and entertainment in high-speed trains.
peak data rates that are much higher than the average

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Frequent handovers based access networks, the handover protocols will

Unfortunately, the lack of bandwidth is not the only have to make handovers at the network level as well.
bottleneck that is preventing us from offering Existing IP-based handover protocols make a trade-off
broadband services to fast moving users. For example, between packet loss and handover latency, and Table 1
IEEE 802.11a WLAN is able to provide a (shared) shows that multimedia applications, like video and
wireless bit rate of 54 M bit/s, but only for cell sizes of voice, are very sensitive to this. The current protocols
a few tens of meters. Figure 2 shows the cell size and also suffer from scalability issues when multiple fast
available bit rate for different wireless technologies. We
moving subscribers are in play.
observe an inverse relationship between the bit rate
Tackling the Problems
and the cell dimension. One could argue that, apart
In order to provide high-quality multimedia
from economic reasons, nothing is preventing today’s
applications to fast-moving users in future cellular
telecom operators from deploying a lot more base
networks, not only the physical communication link
stations along the road in order to provide more
needs to be enhanced, there are implications on the
bandwidth the vehicles. This will however result in
network level as well. In the following we present some
frequent handovers, typically every few seconds,
new advances in the area of antenna design and IP
because mobile users may move very fast, thereby
handover protocols that, in our opinion, are necessary
crossing many cell boundaries. This makes handover
for enabling broadband multi media services in future
probably one of the most critical issues for delivering
seamless services to mobile users at vehicular speeds2. wireless IP networks.

The current cell planning strategy is to maximize the Increasing the bandwidth
coverage and to minimize the number of cells by Advanced antenna systems play an essential role in
allocating more cells in areas with high subscriber increasing the overall performance of
density, resulting in large cells in rural areas where the Wireless communication systems. To realize broadband
vehicular speeds are higher. Current handover access for wireless networks, today’s international
protocols are therefore not optimized to sustain high research focuses on smart antenna systems and on
handover frequencies. Bigger cells furthermore lead to MIMO multiple input multiple output) systems. The
a reduced shared bandwidth (see also Figure 2), as the smart antenna concept can be best understood by first
high (Omni directionally) radiated power, needed to taking a look at a classical cellular network as depicted
cover a large area, results insignificant inter symbol in Figure 3. Here, the base station antennas are Omni-
interference. With current cellular technologies, like directional
UMTS, fast-moving users are switched to larger cells to
reduce the handover frequency and see themselves
restricted to lower data rates. In addition, if the future
wireless networks are revolving towards all-IP packet

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that constitute the antenna

and in neighboring cells different frequencies are used,

to avoid interference. By using a directional antenna
system (see Figure 4), the available spectrum can be
used in a more efficient way: due to the extra spatial
dimension, the same frequency can be reused in
neighboring cells. The combination of a directional
antenna system with a signal processing unit yields a
smart antenna system. The intelligence is embedded in
the signal processing capabilities. The RF hardware of
the signal processing unit allows the radiation pattern of
the antenna array to be changed and hence beam array are not independent. By properly choosing them,
steering to be performed. The purpose of the whole the antenna elements act together as a larger single
system is to optimize the signal transfer between antenna with a single but steerable radiation pattern.
receiver and transmitter and to suppress the effect of Taking into account the complexity antenna array and
interfering signals and noise. In switched antenna the fact that it takes space than a single antenna, such
systems a choice is made from a set of predefined arrays typically found at the base station. The challenge
radiation patterns, while in adaptive systems it is however comes from the mobile user side. Using an
possible to dynamically change the radiation pattern; antenna array at the mobile user is only possible
for example, to account for the movement of the provided such an array is both compact and cost
receiver. To do so, steering algorithms must be effective. In a MIMO system, an antenna array
sufficiently fast. In a smart antenna available both at the transmitter and the receiver.
system the signals on the different antenna elements Provided an estimate for the propagation channel is
available information can be sent over N independent
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channels, increasing the bandwidth N times (N being even though the IP protocol was not designed with host
the minimum number of antenna elements available at mobility in mind. Therefore, the Internet engineering
the receiver and transmitter). Proper functioning of a task force (IETF) has developed the mobile IPv6
MIMO system ultimately depends on the presence of protocol4 which allows IP hosts to remain connected to
rich multipath propagation. However, both indoor and the Internet while moving. Each mobile host is
certain types of outdoor environments often exhibit always identified by its home IP address, regardless of
line-of-sight propagation capable of compromising the its current point of attachment to the Internet. When
performance of the MIMO system. Moreover, the away from its home, a mobile host is also associated
transmitter and receiver are supposed to be stationary in with a care-of- address, which provides information
existing MIMO systems. The problem becomes far about the mobile host’s current location. IPv6 packets
more complex when the mobility of the user be taken addressed to a mobile host’s home address are
into account. Hence, correct knowledge of the often transparently routed to its care-of address (Figure 5). To
very complex propagation channel is necessary to be to accomplish this, the mobile host (MH) notifies its home
use the capacity of the communication channel in an agent (HA) of the current binding between its home
optimal way. From the above general explanation, will address and its care-of address, each time it moves from
be clear that at the physical layer two challenges must one base station (BS) to another. However, packets sent
be addressed when trying to realize broadband access between the mobile host and correspondent hosts incur
for mobile users: suboptimal triangle routing through the home agent. To
• Development of a compact and cost effective smart avoid this, a mobile host can optionally optimize
antenna system at the mobile terminal, and
• Prediction of the complex signal propagation
Of course, the real challenge is to actually build a
compact signal processing unit. To this end research has
been started in the domain of active antennas3. The
main advantages of such active arrays are increased
bandwidth, better signal-to-noise ratio, reduced losses
and a much more compact design. It is clear that these
features are highly desired for an antenna system at
the mobile user.
Advances in IP handover protocols
An IP handover protocol prevents connection loss while
moving from one base station to another. It has the
critical task of providing seamless user connectivity

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routing by performing a no longer has link connectivity with the old base
station. The higher the bit rate of the application, the
more packets are lost and the worse the quality of
service for the user becomes. In the case of high
handover frequency, the mobile IPv6 protocol won’t be
able to follow the frequent change in connections and
will ultimately fail. The Mobile IP Working Group is
further developing two mobile IPv6 extensions to
address this packet loss and handover latency. These
extensions are:
• Hierarchical mobile IPv6 (HMIPv6)5
This extension deals with reducing the amount of
signaling and latency of handover between a mobile
host, its home agent and one or more correspondent
hosts by introducing the mobility anchor point (MAP)
in an IP-subnet. The MAP acts like a local home agent
in the new subnet for the visiting host and reduces the
delay related to the location update, as the mobile host
now sends only a local binding update (BU) to the
local MAP, rather than to the home agent and
Binding update (BU) with the correspondent node as corresponding hosts, that are typically further away.
well. The delay between the moment the mobile host
• Fast handovers for mobile IPv6 (FMIPv6)6
has associated with the new base station and the
FMIPv6 reduces the amount of configuration time in
moment it starts sending and receiving packets on the
the new subnet by using link layer triggers in order to
new link may be substantial; for example, in the order
anticipate the movement of the mobile host. For
of seconds. A mobile host must first detect at the
example, a reduction in the signal strength of the
network layer that its point of attachment has changed,
downlink may indicate that handover will be necessary
then it must perform a configuration of the new link,
soon. The protocol provides support for pre-
including router discovery and allocate a new care-of-
configuration with link information of the new subnet,
address. Hereafter, the mobile host must perform
while the mobile host is still attached to the old subnet.
binding updates with the home agent and any
In addition, FMIPv6 reduces packet loss by providing
correspondent hosts. Any packets between the
fast IP connectivity as soon as a new link is established
correspondent host and the mobile host sent or
by forwarding the packets that are delivered to the old
underway during this time, arrive at the old care-of
care of address to the new care-of address.
address, where they are dropped since the mobile host
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Unfortunately, a lack of standardization prevents the IP- based handover protocols cannot yet meet the
hardware manufacturers requirements of high mobility and high bandwidth
combined with seamless handover. These handover
protocols are rather developed for sporadic transitions
from one cell to another and are hence only suited for
slowly moving mobile users. There does not yet exist a
solution seamless handover for fast mobile users, which
move rapidly from one cell to another in a more or less
predictable way, which the case for cars driving along
the highway and for trains. INTEC is currently
developing a dedicated intelligent routing protocol for
fast and seamless handover, taking into account the
knowledge of the position and the trajectory of the
vehicle. The latter can be accomplished for example by
using Global Positioning System (GPS) information,
but also prediction techniques based on smart antenna
from implementing this cross-layer exchange of
properties can provide additional information. The
information. In addition, the integration of these
intelligent routing protocol is further based on location
techniques into HMIPv6 is not straightforward. These
servers for storing statistical data, in order to define the
protocols are still in their initial experimental stage. The
places where the probability for handover execution is
overall handover latency and packet loss in MIPv6 will
high. The environment under consideration is
be dependent on the various delay factors such as
characterized by these properties: • users are moving
movement detection, IP address configuration and
continuously and behave in a predictable manner,
location update. The Mobile IP Working Group has not
• Hand over frequency is high, and
yet incorporated case of a fast-moving commuter
• Users need high bandwidth with little or no packet
demanding high bandwidth in their charter.
loss and handover latency.
Handover protocols for 4G and beyond The intelligent routing protocol also requires new
As in the near future carpooling and public transport scheduling techniques to ensure the quality-of-service
will be more and more encouraged by the local and requirements for each of the mobile host’s applications.
public authorities, there will be an increasing demand The new IP handover protocol will at a later stage be
for various Internet and multimedia applications in the extended towards complex environments, like cities,
car and the train. For this kind of applications, a high- which inherently exhibit uncertainties in the trajectory
speed high-capacity wireless link is needed with a of the mobile hosts. A test bed is being build at INTEC
minimum handover delay minimal packet losses during for the experimental validation of this new intelligent
handover. As indicated in the previous section, current handover protocol (Figure 6)1. We are using standard
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equipment, like 802.11b PCMCIA cards and steerable

attenuators, and home-designed and home-made
directional switched beam antennas, in order to
emulate a fast-moving mobile user, experiencing
numerous handovers while running a high bandwidth
multimedia application, which requires a high quality
of service; for example, a video from a video streamer
over the Internet. The mobile host, the routers and
gateways are all standard Linux PCs, running the Click
Router software package, enhanced with our own
handover protocol implementation. First demonstration
results of the intelligent routing protocol will be
presented at the FITCE Congress 2003, while technical
results on smart antennas have recently been submitted

for publications.

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The provision of virtual offices or virtual homes in
vehicles is undoubtedly an adequate solution to deal
with the environmental and economical problems
related to the ever- increasing traffic on our highways
and in our cities. A lot of issues however still remain
unresolved for high-quality multimedia applications to
be provided to fast-moving users. The need for higher
bit rates in cellular systems forces the cells to smaller
sizes. High user mobility further requires handover
protocols that can deal with frequent handovers. Such
protocols are currently non-existent and therefore
today’s fast-moving users are generally switched to
larger cells and see themselves restricted to lower data
rates. If one is trying to engineer a cellular
infrastructure with smaller cells in which also fast-
moving users can experience the joys of multimedia,
one has to face new challenges and encounter untackled
problems. These problems start at the physical layer,
propagate up to the network layer and may have an
impact on the application layer as well (for example,
new video-coding techniques needs to be developed to
enable scalable and uniform data rates).promising new
antenna technologies, like smart antennas, may alleviate
the difficulties of multipath interference and hence
increase the available bandwidth in a cell, but this will
certainly not suffice. There is also need for new
modulation schemes, intelligent handover protocols and
context aware applications.


1. www.systeminfo.com,
2. Research papers of Tom van Leeuwan,
Ghent University, Belgium.
3. Research papers of IIT, Kharagpur.
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