On the Road: Wireless Networks Access
Cars come equipped with a variety of features designed to make long-distance rides more enjoyable. We can listen to the radio or CDs, watch movies and get driving directions. However, accessing the Internet (or other wireless networks) has proven more difficult. Access is restricted by user mobility and speed and requires specialized and often expensive devices, such as cellular or satellite network-access devices. Now, thanks to research by Weihua Zhuang, Canada Research Chair in Wireless Communication Networks, accessing wireless networks from your car is becoming a reality. Through “vehicular ad hoc communication networks,” it will be possible for vehicles to communicate with each other while on the road without heavily relying on fixed infrastructures. Zhuang is developing algorithms for radio resource allocation and networking protocols for vehicular ad hoc communications. Her goal is to provide efficient and reliable wireless information transmission between nearby vehicles as well as between vehicles and nearby roadside units. Through her research, she hopes to understand how a large number of vehicles on the road and high vehicle speed can impact network stability and performance. This research will help push the frontier of terrestrial wireless communications to a new level. Ad hoc networking environments that allow high user movement speeds will improve road safety, facilitate intelligent transportation, provide mobile Internet access and support location-dependent information services.