Comparison between Benefits and Costs of Offload of Mobile Internet Traffic via Vehicular Networks
39 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2015 Last revised: 7 Oct 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2015
Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) is an emerging technology that connects automobiles with each other and with roadside infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Transportation may soon mandate that cars be equipped with DSRC to enhance safety. This work finds that if they do, then DSRC networks could also be an important new way to provide Internet access in urban areas that is more cost-effective than expanding the capacity of cellular networks. By combining our simulation model with data collected from an actual vehicular network that is operating in Porto, Portugal, we estimate how much Internet traffic can be carried on vehicular networks that would otherwise be carried by cellular networks under a variety of conditions. We then compare the benefits of cost savings of reduced cellular infrastructure due to offload with the cost of the DSRC vehicular network, to determine whether the former exceeds the latter. Although the benefits from offloading Internet traffic alone are not enough to justify a universal mandate to deploy DSRC in all vehicles, i.e. Internet offload benefit alone is less than total costs, we find that the majority of DSRC-related costs must be incurred anyway if safety is to be enhanced. Thus, soon after a mandate to put DSRC in new vehicles becomes effective, the benefits of offload in densely populated areas would be significantly greater than the remaining costs, which are the costs of roadside infrastructure that can serve as a gateway between DSRC-equipped vehicles and the Internet. Moreover, offload benefit would exceed DSRC infrastructure cost in regions with lower and lower population densities over time.
Keywords: Vehicular networks, mobile data offload, Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), benefit-cost analysis
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