Provision Quality-of-Service Controlled Content Distribution in Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks
By equipping vehicles with the on-board wireless facility, the newly emerged vehicular networking targets to provision the broadband serves to vehicles. As such, a variety of novel and exciting applications can be provided to vehicular users to enhance their road safety and travel comfort, and finally raise a complete change to their on-road life. As the content distribution and media/video streaming, such as Youtube, Netflix, nowadays have become the most popular Internet applications, to enable the efficient content distribution and audio/video streaming services is thus of the paramount importance to the success of the vehicular networking. This, however, is fraught with fundamental challenges due to the distinguished natures of vehicular networking. On one hand, the vehicular communication is challenged by the spotty and volatile wireless connections caused by the high mobility of vehicles. This makes the download performance of connections very unstable and dramatically change over time, which directly threats to the on-top media applications. On the other hand, a vehicular network typically involves an extremely large-scale node population (e.g., hundreds or thousandths of vehicles in a region) with intense spatial and temporal variations across the network geometry at different times. This dictates any designs to be scalable and fully distributed which should not only be resilient to the network dynamics, but also provide the guaranteed quality-of-service (QoS) to users. The purpose of this dissertation is to address the challenges of the vehicular networking imposed by its intrinsic dynamic and large-scale natures, and build the efficient, scalable and, more importantly, practical systems to enable the cost-effective and QoS guaranteed content distribution and media streaming services to vehicular users. Note that to effective- ly deliver the content from the remote Internet to in-motion vehicles, it typically involves three parts as: 1.) an infrastructure grid of gateways which behave as the data depots or injection points of Internet contents and services to vehicles, 2.) protocol at gateways which schedules the bandwidth resource at gateways and coordinates the parallel transmissions to different vehicles, and 3.) the end-system control mechanism at receivers which adapts the receiver’s content download/playback strategy based on the available network throughput to provide users with the desired service experience. With above three parts in mind, the entire research work in this dissertation casts a systematic view to address each part in one topic with: 1.) design of large-scale cost-effective content distribution infrastructure, 2.) MAC (media access control) performance evaluation and channel time scheduling, and 3.) receiver adaptation and adaptive playout in dynamic download environment. In specific, in the first topic, we propose a practical solution to form a large-scale and cost-effective content distribution infrastructure in the city. We argue that a large-scale infrastructure with the dedicated resources, including storage, computing and communication capacity, is necessary for the vehicular network to become an alternative of 3G/4G cellular network as the dominating approach of ubiquitous content distribution and data services to vehicles. On addressing this issue, we propose a fully distributed scheme to form a large-scale infrastructure by the contributions of individual entities in the city, such as grocery stores, movie theaters, etc. That is to say, the installation and maintenance costs are shared by many individuals. In this topic, we explain the design rationale on how to motivate individuals to contribute, and specify the detailed design of the system, which is embodied with distributed protocols and performance evaluation. The second topic investigates on the MAC throughput performance of the vehicle-to- infrastructure (V2I) communications when vehicles drive through RSUs, namely drive-thru Internet. Note that with a large-scale population of fast-motion nodes contending the chan- nel for transmissions, the MAC performance determines the achievable nodal throughput and is crucial to the on-top applications. In this topic, using a simple yet accurate Marko- vian model, we first show the impacts of mobility (characterized by node velocity and moving directions) on the nodal and system throughput performance, respectively. Based on this analysis, we then propose three enhancement schemes to timely adjust the MAC parameters in tune with the vehicle mobility to achieve the maximal the system throughput. The last topic investigates on the end-system design to deliver the user desired media streaming services in the vehicular environment. In specific, the vehicular communications are notoriously known for the intermittent connectivity and dramatically varying throughput. Video streaming on top of vehicular networks therefore inevitably suffers from the severe network dynamics, resulting in the frequent jerkiness or even freezing video playback. To address this issue, an analytical model is first developed to unveil the impacts of network dynamics on the resultant video performance to users in terms of video start-up delay and smoothness of playback. Based on the analysis, the adaptive playout buffer mechanism is developed to adapt the video playback strategy at receivers towards the user-defined video quality. The proposals developed in the three topics are validated with the extensive and high fidelity simulations. We believe that our analysis developed in the dissertation can provide insightful lights on understanding the fundamental performance of the vehicular content distribution networks from the aspects of session-level download performance in urban vehicular networks (topic 1), MAC throughput performance (topic 2), and user perceived media quality (topic 3). The protocols developed in the three topics, respectively, offer practical and efficient solutions to build and optimize the vehicular content distribution networks.