Parked Cars Could Improve 5G Coverage and Throughput via Radio Crowdsourcing, Researchers Say

100 car-based radios and 200 fixed-point base stations can outperform 400 fixed-point base stations, researchers claim.

Researchers have demonstrated that putting base stations in parked cars can enhance 5G networks. (πŸ“·: Nakayama et al)

Researchers from Tokyo University, Osaka University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and NPO Neko 9 Laboratories have offered an interesting way to increase 5G coverage and throughput using less hardware: crowdsourcing coverage from nearby parked cars.

"A large number of small cells are densely deployed in the era of 5G and beyond 5G mobile networks to achieve high rate and low latency data transmission. Small cells are composed with fixed ground radio units (RUs) in the conventional networks, and thus the utilization rate of them is drastically deteriorated due to the spatio-temporal patterns of mobile traffic demand," the researchers explain of the core problem they're looking to solve. "To address this problem, adaptive network architectures have been investigated to reconfigure networks on demand using small cells mounted on moving objects such as vehicles and drones.

"However, it has been difficult to establish stable communication link to ground nodes in high-speed environments with these schemes. Therefore, this paper proposes a concept of small cells composed with crowdsourced RUs mounted on parked vehicles. They are activated based on the traffic demand in surrounding area by road side units (RSUs) assuming a smart city. The proposed idea is based on the correlation between the distribution of people and the occupancy rate of parking lots. It can efficiently improve user throughput with relatively small number of RUs."

Placing these radio units on vehicles in an urban setting, potentially offering those with the hardware compensation to encourage adoption, the team found that 100 car-based radios plus 200 traditional fixed-location base stations offered increased coverage and data throughput than 400 traditional fixed-location stations - as well as ensuring, by the nature of being attached to parked vehicles, that the best coverage is concentrated around where people tend to congregate.

The team's paper has been published under open access terms in the journal IEEE Access; additional coverage is available from IEEE Spectrum.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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