Research Call Dropping Syndrome in a Mobile Router Connection Used in a Vehicular Environment
With the emergence of mobile automobile internet routers in the past five years, theorists and visionaries have begun to picture a world for their widespread application. From transportation infrastructure and inter-vehicular communication to mobile conferencing and business applications, the ability to access the internet during transportation is an increasingly valued concept. Yet mobile phones have internet services and cellular providers offer broadband 3G and 4G options, so why amidst all of this integrated technology does the mobile router become such a key component? Efficiency and performance. By leveraging the strengths of an integrated urban infrastructure and utilising multiple access points, the bandwidth and quality of service associated with mobile internet routing is rapidly increasing. Due to the rapid rate of motion and exchange, one of the most inefficient concepts within mobile routing is handover latency, a potential lag in network resources during which packets of information are exchanged between the mobile router and the new access point.
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This research will provide a broad spectrum of theory and evidence regarding opportunities for moving towards a soft handover, undermining the performance losses and network degradation associated with hard handover switching behaviour. Further, predictions will be made for the future of mobile automobile routing services, highlighting particular concerns that must be remedied in the coming years in order to enhance industry performance.
1.1 Research Problem
As internet integration and communications convergence is increasingly impactful on human existence, the exploitation of new and emergent technologies for increasingly mobile applications continues. One of the most debated advances in recent years is directly related to the integration of mobile internet into automobiles. With one leading firm, Autonet Mobile currently supplying a proprietary technology to several key automobile manufacturers, the merits of mobile routing continue to be validated through commercial value and consumer investment. From a technical standpoint, router-network communication protocol is relatively standard when a static relationship is established; however, once this relationship becomes mobile, the handover requirements due to mobile access points can result in a breakdown in quality of service (QoS) and connection dropping behaviour. Using the NEMO basic support protocol, a mobile router is able to use Mobile IPv6 to ‘establish and maintain a session with its home agent…using bidirectional tunnelling between the mobile router and home agent to provide a path through which nodes attached to links in the mobile network can maintain connectivity with nodes not in the NEMO’. This brief explanation of a network architecture designed to maintain mobile consistency and reduce signal dropping behaviour is indicative of emergent technology in the mobile routing field, a capability with wide scale applications across automobiles, trains, busses, and other ground transportation networks.
Although Autonet Mobile is the most public corporation currently working towards the development and implementation of mobile internet in automobiles, it is unlikely that such market supremacy will continue into the future. With expectations of more integrated automobile systems, particularly those related to navigation and intra-traffic vehicular communication (accident reduction schemes), academics such as Carney and Delphus are already predicting a rich, network-integrated future for mobile computing and internet applications. Considering that QoS for other diverse communication options including VoIP remains of particular concern in the mobile computing community, more in-depth analysis of connection management and performance in a mobile environment is needed. The concept of mobile routers and a mobile internet connection through intra-vehicular integration is foreign to many consumers, even in this era of diverse technologies and increasingly advanced network architecture. Therefore, the fundamental value of this dissertation may be linked to more predictive analysis of future applications and systemic evolutions regarding these emergent technologies. Through a comprehensive review of the existing academic evidence in this field as well as several examples of mobile routing technologies that are either currently in production are being field tested, the following chapters will firmly establish a rich, evidence-based perspective regarding technological viability, updates and version 2.0, and the future of mobile internet routing.
1.2 Aims and Objectives
Although wireless technologies have a longstanding history in internet protocol and architecture, the complexity of handover behaviour and connectivity in mobile router service continues to challenge developers to reconsider the merits of their design. Accordingly, as 3G and 4G mobile broadband networks are expanded across metropolitan and surrounding areas, the flexibility of mobile routers and intra-vehicular internet use is increasing significantly. Simultaneously, alternative technologies including the Autonet Mobile router exploit such interconnectedness to maximise wireless performance, conducting mobile handoffs of service as vehicles pass from one cell tower to another. The scope of this investigation is based on emergent technologies and connection dropping behaviour during in-motion computing. Therefore, a variety of sources will be explored over the subsequent chapters in order to evaluate the progress made in this field, practical applications and their relative reliability, and future opportunities for redesign and reconfiguration of mobile routers. In order to govern the scope and scale of this investigative process, the following research aim has been defined:
To evaluate the emergence of wireless router technologies for automobiles, comparing the connection dropping behaviour of mobile broadband networks and tower switching protocol in order to predict the viability of future applications and technologies.
Based on the variables addressed in this particular research aim, this investigation involves three primary data streams including evidence regarding the performance of mobile broadband routers and cards, the evidence regarding the performance of hand-off-based mobile internet access routers, and the opportunities for expanding this technology beyond its currently limited scope in future applications. As this investigative process involves the analysis of a broad spectrum of empirical findings in this field, secondary academic evidence forms the theoretical foundations of the background to this mobile internet problem. In addition, empirical evidence from actual network architecture is retrieved from existing applications of these distinctive technologies. Throughout the collection and analysis of this evidence, the following research objectives will be accomplished:
To identify the underlying conditions which contribute to connection dropping behaviour in mobile internet usage
To evaluate the structure of mobile internet architecture, highlighting the benefits and limitations associated with the various technologies
To highlight theoretical and emergent applications for mobile internet connections, expanding the scope of usage beyond just web surfing whilst driving
To offer recommendations based on the optimisation of network architecture according to a purpose-oriented protocol
1.3 Research Questions
Based on the aforementioned research aims and objectives, there are several key research questions that will be answered over the following chapters:
What expectations are manifested regarding mobile internet usage in vehicles, and how is such performance evaluated?
What opportunities are there for integrating mobile internet on a broader scale for more strategic, vehicular purposes (i.e. navigation, multi-vehicle communication, etc.)?
Are there specific benefits of a mobile broadband connection over tower handover behaviour and vice versa?
What will determine the future of mobile internet and how will such variables be identified and incorporated into the network architecture?
1.4 Structure of Dissertation
This dissertation has been structured in order to progress from a more general, theoretical background to specific mobile internet routing evidence. The following is a brief explanation of the primary objectives for each of the subsequent chapters:
Chapter 2: Literature Review: Highlighting an academic precedence established in this field over the past two to three years, empirical studies and theoretical findings are presented and compared in direct relation to the research aims and objectives.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology: This chapter seeks to demonstrate the foundations of the research model and the variables considered in the definition of the analytical research methodology.
Chapter 4: Data Presentation: Findings from an empirical review of existing mobile router architecture are presented, highlighting particular conditions, standards, and performance monitoring that govern functionality and performance.
Chapter 5: Discussion and Analysis: Retreating to the academic background presented in Chapter 2, the research findings are discussed in detail, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with current network architecture and mobile internet protocol.
Chapter 6: Conclusions and Recommendations: In this final chapter, summative conclusions are offered based on the entirety of the collected evidence, and recommendations for future mobile internet routing solutions are provided.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
There is a broad spectrum of academic evidence relating to mobile internet, network architecture, and operational protocol. This chapter seeks to extract the most relevant studies from this wealth of theoretical and empirical findings in order to identify the key conditions and components associated with effective and high performing mobile internet in automobiles. Further, evidence regarding connection dropping syndrome is investigated in order to highlight those deficient characteristics that continue to detract from the overall performance of these various networks. Ultimately, this chapter provides the background findings that will be compared with practical applications of mobile internet routers in vehicular scenarios in Chapter 4. This analysis is designed to not only introduce the academic arguments regarding the functional architecture of mobile routing and its widespread potential applications, but to also compare the principles and practices that have been discussed across a diverse range of technological interpretations.
2.2 The Background of Mobile Automotive Routers
In 2009, emergent technology inspired by an increasing social demand for internet mobility and integrated online resources in automobiles began to make its way to the market. Carney reported on an American based firm, Autonet Mobile which viewed the future of integrated mobile wireless as handoff-based through existing cell towers rather than mobile broadband card-driven. In essence, this proprietary technology leverages a similar communications standard to the 3G and 4G broadband routers that continue to be offered by mobile phone providers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and others. Consumer analysis by Autonet determined that over 50% of consumers surveyed reported on a desire for internet service in their cars in comparison with just 16% who were interested such technologies in the early parts of the 21st century. Practical applications of mobile internet routers include direct streaming of navigation tools such as MapQuest and Google Maps to the vehicle or benefits for business customers which include mail and file transfer capabilities or even online information sourcing. Uconnect Web is the service provider which ultimately links the user through the Autonet router to the internet, offering data speeds that have been reported as comparable to 3G technologies. By default, the broadcast range is around 150 feet from the car, differentiating the flexibility of use in this technology from PAN architecture.
Although the uptake of the Autonet router in such automotive producers as Chrysler and Cadillac was widely publicised, the general public reaction was not necessarily a market-shifting response. In fact, a leading analyst of direct competitor Ford would criticise the Autonet router early in its lifecycle, suggesting that many consumer will not see value in the investment in technology that is similar to that which they already pay for on their other mobile devices, especially when it is limited to the architecture of the vehicle. In spite of such predictions, by February of 2009, the Autonet router had received its first award from Good Housekeeping magazine for Very Innovative Products (VIP), a recognition that was directly oriented towards this new products potential value for families in its integration of multiple devices within a single wireless hub. In 2010, Delphus reported on significant increases in subscriber statistics, from around 3,000 vehicles in 2009 to over 10,000 by mid-2010, the direct result of strategic partnerships with such rental car giants as Avis and continued OEM partnering with Chrysler, GM, Volkswagen, and Subaru. In spite of the more commercial value of this concept, what is most relevant to the scope of this investigation is the proprietary handover management technologies that have emerged in the Autonet operating protocol. In fact, Delphus reports that because of contractual partnering with multiple wireless telecom providers, Autonet is able to maintain consistent web streaming with very minimal ‘between tower’ signal fading in urban spaces. Considering that handover processing and seamless transfer of addresses between towers is one of the technologies developed under the NEMO project previously introduced by Lorchat et al., the commercial value of such initiatives could potentially be expanded to include a much more integrated traffic architecture and communication network.
In his exploratory evaluation of NEMO as a handover framework for mobile internet routing (particularly in multi-nodal vehicular applications for traffic navigation/communication), Ernst highlights particular challenges with maintaining quality of service under mobile conditions. In particular, he recognises that addresses must be topologically correct involving specific language designed to interface with a particular tower, an ability to change the IP subnet, and ultimately the change of location and routing directive. In order to maintain sessions and quality of service, Ernst introduces a communicative architecture based on a bi-directional tunnel between the home agent (HA) and the mobile node (MN), a connection which must remain dynamic and automatic whilst receiving bandwidth allocation from the access network. In particular, such early work on the NEMO architecture established specific performance requirements which included permanent and un-interrupted access to the internet, the need to connect simultaneously to the internet via several access networks, and the ability to switch to best available access technology as needed. By default, this flexible architecture provides the following predicted benefits:
Redundancy which reduces link failures that arise in mobile environments
Ubiquity which allows for a wide area of coverage and permanent and un interrupted connectivity
Flexibility that receives specific policies from users/applications and price-oriented competition amongst providers
Load sharing to efficiently allocate bandwidth, limiting delays and signal losses
The value of NEMO protocol is that it allows for shifting points of attachment in order to achieve optimal internet connectivity. When a mobile node is on a foreign network, it is able to obtain a local address termed Care of Address (CoA) which is then sent to the home address for binding. Once the binding is complete, the HA ‘intercepts and forwards packets that arrive for the MN to the MN’ via the ubiquitous tunnel to the CoA. It is this binding and re-binding of different CoAs during mobility that ultimately allows for improved QoS, restricting the number of dropped connections and maintaining persistent internet connectivity in all areas where call towers can be accessed. Within this architecture, binding updates are used to notify HAs of a new CoA, whereby the HAs send a binding acknowledgement that may either be implicit (no mobile network prefix option) or explicit (one or more mobile network prefix options). It is the underlying use of the IPv6 architecture which Moceri argues allows for more efficient tunnelling and more consistent security than IPv4 options, due to the IPSec, the tunnelling mechanism, and the optional foreign agent usage.
2.3 Mobile Routing and Network Architecture
One of the more recent evolutions of the mobile routing protocol is based on NEMO (Network Mobility), an architecture that is designed to flexibly manage a single or multiple connections to the internet, even during motion. Based on the standardisation of protocol and architectural features by the IETF in recent years, NEMO is quickly becoming a viable means of extending internet services, diversifying online communication, and establishing a mobile link between variable nodes. In their recent analysis of this architecture, Lorchat et al. suggest that IPv6 was designated as the best fit solution to the network mobility problem, allowing for the mobile router to change its point of attachment to the IPv6 internet infrastructure whilst maintaining all current connections transparently. The authors introduce a model-in-development application of the NEMO architecture suggesting that a singular home agent would act as a maintenance and exchange module, retaining information regarding permanent addresses of mobile routers, temporary addresses, and mobile network prefixes. The primary challenge associated with intra-vehicular mobility of an internet connection in this particular challenge is that the automobile needs to perform handovers between wireless access points. Although such research is valuable from an early architectural standpoint (i.e. 2006 technology), the accessibility of wireless technology provided over mobile telephony suites via 3G and 4G technology is far advanced from a point-to-point handover protocol.
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In more in-depth review of the NEMO technology, other researchers have endeavoured to identify the key limitations and opportunities that are associated with particular orientations and architectural standards. Chen et al., for example, based their research on the viability of applying NEMO BSP within public transportation in order to provide mobile internet for all passengers. This research is extremely valuable for the development of effective router protocol in the future, as the authors propose that in order to overcome the multihoming problem (i.e. a need to access multiple types of networks in order to reduce downtime and connection dropping), multiple router types could be linked wherein each router is equipped with just one type of interface could be viably used to improve quality of service. For their research, the mobile router is equipped with WLAN, GPRS, and CDMA interfaces simultaneously and an inter-interface handover algorithm is proposed for the signal exchange whilst performance during handover is measured and analysed. To accomplish such network architecture, the authors needed to introduce multiple CoA registration under which bi-directional tunnels could be established for each of the three networks without having to identify one network as primary over the others. Post analytical conclusions suggest that MIPv6 and NEMO BSP are inappropriate for ‘delay sensitive applications due to handover latency of more than 1.5s’; however, multiple interfaces and different internet service providers can offer a means of transferring traffic smoothly from one interface to another.
2.4 Alternative Schemes and Personal Access Networks
In spite of a more narrowed broadcast scope, wireless personal access networks (WPANs) are increasing in popularity, basing short range wireless communications on two distinct standards including IEEE 802.15.3 (High-Rate WPAN) and IEEE 802.15.4 (Low-Rate WPAN). Accordingly, WPANs are defined around a limited range personal operating space (POS) that is traditionally extended up to 10m in all directions around a person or object, stationary or motionless. LRWPANs are typically characterised by a limited data transmission rate of between 20 kb/s to 250 kb/s, requiring only minimal battery power and providing a transfer service for specific applications including industrial and medical monitoring. Conversely, HRWPANs offer a much higher rate of data transmission from 11 Mb/s to 55 Mb/s and are suitable to allow for the transmission of real time video or audio and providing the foundation for more interactive gaming technologies. In HRWPAN protocol, the formation, called a piconet, requires a single node to assume the role of the Piconet Coordinator (PNC) that is designed to synchronise other piconet nodes, support QoS, and manage nodal power control and channel access control mechanisms. Node functionality in the piconet architecture is defined as follows:
Independent Piconet: Stand-alone HRWPAN with a single network coordinator and one or more network nodes. Network coordinator transmits periodic beacon frames which other network nodes use to synchronise and communicate with network coordinator.
Parent Piconet: HRWPAN that controls functionality of one or more piconets. Manages communication of network nodes and controls operations of one or more dependent network coordinators.
Dependent Piconet: Involve a ‘child piconet’ which is created by a node from a parent piconet to extend network coverage and/or to provide computational and memory resources to the parent.
The value of the PAN architecture is based on its high mobility and innate flexibility, allowing for single devices to operate as mobile routers, providing internet access to multiple devices. Moceri predicts that by integrating NEMO protocol into PAN network architecture, it is possible to use a particular device such as a mobile phone to provide continuous access to a variety of other devices. Ultimately the future of this technology is directly linked to inherent efficiencies that are associated with network operations and architecture, Ali and Mouftah reiterate that in order to maximise PAN uptake in the future, a variety of protocol-based concerns must be remedied and transmissions should be become increasingly efficient. One instance of inefficiency that was identified by their empirical analysis indicated that there is a threshold value for the exchange of packets that once violated results in an accelerated rate of rejection. This is a serious concern that must be addressed through design and development of the PAN standard.
This chapter has introduced the background concepts associated with mobile wireless internet in modern automobiles. In spite of the fact that the market is limited to just one strong and integrated firm, it is evident that over the long term, opportunities for competition and alliance from other providers and service agencies is increasing. Consumers continue to demand additional connectivity and an increased standard of internet access. Unprecedented potential for redefining the future of internet mobility is currently manifesting itself throughout this industry and as such leading agencies as the IETF continue to expand their investigative process, the expectation of advancement is rampant. Ultimately, one of the first challenges that must be addressed within this field is that of handover technologies, an area of mobile internet that involves the majority of performance-based losses. By focusing on such key transitional periods in the access process, the opportunity for systemic optimisation will be greatly enhanced. The following chapter will provide background regarding the research methods that were employed in the analysis and discussion of practical handover problems and their review in this field.
Chapter 3: Research Methodology
This chapter presents the research methods that were employed in the collection and analysis of evidence regarding the viability of mobile routing technologies across intra-vehicular applications. Focusing on an academic precedence in this field as well as guidance from theorists focusing specifically on data collection methods and analytical techniques, background is offered to validate the methodological decisions made over the course of this process. Ultimately, specific evidence regarding research architecture and the various components integrated into the research process will be addressed, as well as particular, strategic and incidental limitations affiliated with the focus of this study and a multi-stream analysis of complex data.
3.2 Research Methods
The majority of research in this field focuses on case study evidence in which network architecture, internet protocol, and various limitations and opportunities are investigated via case study examples. Chen et al., for example, utilised three different mobile routers in order to investigate handover behaviour and network performance in a mobile vehicular network. Such experimental data serves to validate best fit programming and architectural features, measuring handover time for packets of information across different conditions including between GPRS and CDMO and MR in NEMO BSP. Although the value of such analysis was recognised early in this research process, the focus of this analysis is to differentiate between hard and soft handover architecture, a condition that can be evaluated within the context of existing technology. Therefore, the experimental research method was determined to prescribe too wide of a scope of research for this study and was eliminated from the available options.
Other academics have leveraged the past theories and studies of other empiricists in order to conceptualise the foundations of a future defined by mobile vehicular internet connections. Gerla and Kleinrock, for example, explored a variety of different concepts on Inter vehicle communications (IVCs) and their applications in hypothetical transportation system architecture. Such research involved content analysis from past studies in which empirical findings and theories are cited as a means of predicting future adaptation and adjustment within the global architecture. Based on the research model presented in this study, it was determined that a comprehensive review of leading theories and findings in this field that were directly linked to the aims and objectives of this research would be a valuable research methodology.
Based on the review of past academic methodologies, a comprehensive content analysis of recent findings from empiricists and academics in this field was determined to provide a best fit research methodology. Krippendorff argues that analytical constructs ‘ensure that an analysis of given texts models the texts’ context of use’, limiting any violations regarding what is known about the conditions surrounding the text. Due to the complexity and technological variability of this topic, it was important to restrict interpretation of the findings and academic perspectives to their relative context, the foundations of which were ultimately defined early in the reports. From the application of mobile routing in pedestrian circles to vehicular mobile routing for public transportation purposes, the context was determined to be a driving factor in the protocol and architecture chosen for handover schemes in mobile internet connections. A total of six unique studies were identified as directly relevant to the investigation of soft handover technology and applications, and the general findings from these studies were then extracted and integrated into the following chapter. This data is directly relevant in predicting evolution in this industry and detailing opportunities for integrating soft handover technologies in order to optimise system performance in the future.
3.3 Ethical Concerns and Limitations
The evidence presented in the content analysis was all extracted from journal publications that are widely available to the public through multiple databases and online retrieval sites. Therefore, it was determined that based on this research method, there weren’t any ethical concerns relating to the data. There were, however, limitations imposed on the scope of the studies researched in order to ensure that the focal point of these analyses was directly oriented towards handover protocol and mobile routing architecture. The imposition of such limitations proved valuable because they allowed the research to be focused on specific conditions, outcomes, and opportunities regarding this topic that will be extremely relevant in future developments in this field.
This chapter has presented the research methods that were employed in the collection and analysis of secondary evidence regarding this widely debated topic. Recognising that inconsistencies in the review of one or two studies could result in innate research bias, six different studies were chosen from varying areas of focus in mobile routing technology. The findings are presented and discussed in direct relation to their independent context, with the exception of a few correlations that were drawn in order to link concepts and industry standards. The following chapter will present the findings from this content analysis in detail.
Chapter 4: Data Presentation
This chapter presents a broad spectrum of academic theories, evidence, and predictions regarding the evolution of the mobile internet architecture. Whilst oriented towards the application of this technology in modern automobiles, the findings from a review of leading theorists in this field have demonstrated that the concept of handover management and strategic redefinition in mobile networks transcends the limited scope of this problem. Therefore, although current routing systems available in the marketplace may integrate different technologies or architecture than those discussed here, the focus of this research is ultimately on the evolution of the mobile handover between access points from a hard, delay-limited process to a soft, dynamic and integrated process.
4.2 The Current Problem
The modern consumer demands immediacy in all aspects of their life, from food procurement to entertainment to communication. As the heterogeneous architecture of an integrated, internet-oriented society continues to affect product choices and consumer values, the notion of a functional, high performing vehicular router has quickly become integrated into several leading automotive producers in the past several years. Labiod et al. define a mobile router as ‘a mobile node which can change its point of attachment to the internet and then its IP address’. Similarly, mobile networks involve a ‘set of hosts that move collectively as a unit’, leveraging a mobile router to perform gateway tasks and prov
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