INFOSTATIONS
by
Richard Frenkiel
and Tomasz Imielinski

Today's systems are "voice oriented", which means they are designed to deliver real-time information at a (more or less) constant rate to any location in the coverage area. We assume that future systems will carry non-voice information (messaging, data files, maps, executable software) in increasing quantities, and that ultimately, this non-voice communication will dominate.

Non-voice communication may generally be carried out at arbitrary rates and times (e.g., information may be transferred at very high rates when channel conditions allow, and may often be delayed until a favorable condition exists). This leads to the possibility of creating "infostations"--small, isolated coverage areas, in convenient locations, where information can be transferred at high rates. Infostations might be thought of as one or more separate systems, or as an overlay on a ubiquitous, low-rate system such as cellular.

Currently, we are identifying the various services which might be supported by such an architecture, and establishing basic system parameters such as data rates, coverage ranges and vehicle speeds. A major area of activity will be in the opportunistic network protocols that account for both the mobility of the user and the isolated pockets of coverage.

We are also considering a VERY COMPACT AND LOW COST RADIO TECHNOLOGY which could be used for security, inventory, and financial transactions as well as large file transfers. This work also includes the creation of a layered protocol to address the specific issues of this specialized radio link.


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