Mobile Awareness in a Wide Area Wireless Network of Info-stations

T. Ye, Hans-Arno Jacobsen, and R. Katz.

In ACM/IEEE International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (MobiCom’98), pages 109-120, Denver, CO, October 1998.
Acceptance rate: 18%. Number of submissions: 147.


Wireless networking is becoming an increasingly important communication means, yet high wide--area wireless data connectivity is difficult to achieve due to technological and physical limitations. To alleviate these problems we experiment with an alternative by placing many high bandwidth local "islands" of info--stations dispersed throughout the low bandwidth wide--area wireless network. The location and distribution of the individual stations is crucial for the network's overall effectiveness, as demonstrated by our investigations. The info--stations are deployed in a transparent manner, often not geographically visible to the user. Applications must be designed to be mobile--aware and able to account for changing network characteristics by optimally utilizing the available network resources. We simulate alternative network layouts and determine their effectiveness by experimenting with an incremental map downloading application for road travelers that uses intelligent prefetching to take advantage of the info-stations. The prefetching algorithm uses location, route, and speed information to predict future data access. Our experiments show substantial improvement of the mobile-aware application in the info-station network over a mobile-unaware application in a conventional wide-area wireless network. The prefetching algorithm proves to hide latency from th euser better than a naive prefetching algorithm. We have achieved between 16% to 50% improvements, depending on the prefetched amount. The results also suggested that a network design with frequent short range info-stations is better than one with fewer, longer range stations.


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