Internet on the Road: Are We There Yet?

Keynote Address at IEEE VON 2009, 07 December, Singapore

Professor Mahbub Hassan
The University of New South Wales

Keynote Abstract

The dream of Internet access on highways and trains is about to become a reality, thanks to the recent deployments of high capacity 3G wireless networks. In a bid to capture a share of this emerging Internet market, handset vendors, automakers, and Internet service providers have released a range of new products and services, which includes the iPhone 3G from Apple, ConnectedDrive (in-car Internet) by BMW, and onboard Wi-Fi for buses and trains from iComera. Despite these early roll-outs, Internet on the road is still considered in its infancy. The vehicular environment, where users rapidly and continuously change their geographic locations, presents formidable challenges to engineer a stable wireless access to the Internet. To guarantee a smooth connectivity, the underlying communication substrate will have to constantly adapt and adjust to the changing networking conditions. The first half of this talk will identify the communication paradigms promising to deliver the vision of high quality Internet on the roads. The second part of the talk will present our own work in this area at the University of New South Wales. Specifically, it will introduce the concept of a high-resolution geographic network performance map that continuously collects and summarizes user experiences for each 500 meter of the road. The presentation will show how to create, store, and interface such maps to existing communication protocols. Maps created for the largest 3G providers in Australia along a 23Km route in the city of Sydney will be analyzed. Results from a recent prototype test drive, which demonstrates the utility of such maps for improving the quality of multimedia streaming in the vehicular environment, will be presented.

Speaker Biography

Mahbub Hassan is a Full Professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, where he directs a research group on the application of wireless communication to improve the safety and efficiency of road transportation. During 2004-2005, he served as the Project Leader at the National ICT Australia where he worked with the state Roads and Traffic Authority to build one of the world’s first test-bed for multi-hop wireless communication between traffic lights. Since 2004, he has been the leader of project OCEAN which has pioneered vehicular Internet access research in Australia. He has recently served on the TPC of many international workshops on vehicular networking, including VON’09, VON’08, VINT’08, WiN-ITS’07, and WNEPT’06. He was TPC co-chair for the SPIE conference on Internet Quality of Service in 2001-2003. His recently edited book, High Performance TCP/IP Networking, Prentice Hall 2004, is used by 65 universities in the US, Europe and Asia, with translation published in Polish. In 2009, he was awarded a US patent for his invention on controlling Internet Protocol traffic in local area networks. Professor Hassan currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for ICST Transactions on Networks and Communications and Area Editor for Computer Communications. Previously he served as Associate Technical Editor for IEEE Communications Magazine (1991-2001) and Guest Editor for IEEE Network (2009), IEEE Communications Magazine (2001 and 2007), Journal of Supercomputing (2001), and Real Time Imaging (2001). Dr. Hassan received his PhD (1998) from Monash University, Australia, MSc (1991) from University of Victoria, Canada, and B.Sc., with High Honor (1989) from Middle East Technical University, Turkey.