R.H. Frenkiel and T. Imielinski, “Infostations: The Joy of “many–time, many–where” Communications, WINLAB TR–119, April 1996.

David Goodman, Joan Borras, Narayan Mandayam, Roy Yates, "Infostations: A New System Model for Data and Messaging Services", 1997 IEEE VTC, vol. 2, pp. 969-973.

Gang Wu, Churng-Wen Chu, Kevin Wine, James Evans, and Richard Frenkiel, "WINMAC: A Novel Transmission Protocol for Infostations", 1999 IEEE VTC, vol. 2, pp. 1340-1344.

Hua Mao, Gang Wu, Jim Evans, Michael Caggiano, "Improvement of IP Packet Throughput with an Adaptive Radio Link Protocol for Infostations", PRMRC'99, vol. 3, pp.1305-1309.

Joan Borras-Chia (Thesis director: Roy Yates), "Capacity of an Infostation System", WINLAB TR 191, November 1999.

Jin Wang, Michael Caggiano, and James Evans, "Packet Size Optimization Throughput Analysis and Rate Adaptation for Infostation System", WINLAB TR 192, December 1999.

James Evans, "Low Sequency W-CDMA Codes Lead to More Economic WLL and Infostation Terminals", WINLAB TR 193, December 1999.

Hau Mao, "An Adaptive Retransmission Scheme for Efficient Packet Transmission in Infostation System", WINLAB TR 190, December 1999.

Ana Lucia Iacono, Chris Rose, "Bounds on File Delivery Delay in an Infostations System", Spring 2000 IEEE VTC, vol. 3, pp.2295-2299.

Richard Frenkiel, BR Badrinath, Joan Borras, Roy Yates, "The Infostations Challenge: Balancing Cost and Ubiquity in Delivering Wireless Data", IEEE Personal Communications, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 66-71, April 2000.

Infostations for Emergency Applications

Project Objective
Prototyping and technology transfer of designs for high-bit-rate short-range Infostation coverage at emergency sites. In particular, this system testbed is intended to allow WINLAB and its partners to conduct real-world experiments with an Infostation prototype and related software in the important emergency and disaster relief application. The project will leverage commercially available hardware (such as 802.11a wireless LANs) which can be deployed in the near term, with customizations (such as high-speed MIMO radio PHY) for this application being added via hardware or software upgrades. The broad goals of this project include:

  • To increase dramatically the total information capacity which is available to workers at an emergency site.
  • To coordinate the communications of a variety of separate groups that come together at such a site.
  • To expand the scope of the information delivered to the site, and tailor that information to the specific needs of different workers at the site.
  • To allow for the aggregation and delivery of both general information and personal messaging.
  • To tailor the information to the available bandwidth.
  • To increase personnel safety through enhanced capabilities such as the locating of workers and the monitoring of their vital signs.
  • To provide for the monitoring and control of ancillary equipment such as medical devices, robots and sensors.

Technology Rationale
While Infostations technology envisions ultra-high-speed radios operating at 100’s of Mbps or even Gbps rates, current generations of hardware using variants of the 802.11 standard are now providing bit rates in the tens of megabits per second, using compact, low-cost hardware. This provides an opportunity to transfer Infostations technology based on 802.11a or b wireless LAN hardware for this valuable purpose in the near term. Simultaneously, XML-based semantic routing being designed by a partner company (Semandex Networks) has the ability to gather and disseminate a large and diverse body of valuable information, tailoring it to the needs of different workers and to the available bandwidth. Taken together, these capabilities make possible a demonstration of technology that is a dramatic improvement in both information quantity and quality over what is now available at emergency sites. Moreover, this testbed will serve as both a catalyst and a support structure for the creation of additional hardware and applications, both by WINLAB and its research partners.

Technical Approach
The prototype configuration will use a single transportable Infostation (with wireless backhaul to a central location) to provide a wireless "hot-spot" in an emergency service area. The prototype incorporates customized 802.11 WLAN hardware and software necessary to support fast file transfer services associated with an Infostation (e.g. MB files can be downloaded to a portable computing device during a drive-through interval of seconds). The 802.11 WLAN system requires some software enhancements to support this mode, including changes to the drivers to detect entry into the hot-spot zone, prioritized file transmission when the high-bit rate mode is reached, file fragmentation and error recovery, etc. Also the Infostation has been built with a moderately large (GB) data cache which can be used to store location- and person-relevant information based on anticipated usage. These caches can be populated using semantic routing technology mentioned above or other more conventional methods. An example Java-based application program has been written for a "typical" rescue operation, mainly to demonstrate potential functionality. The application provides relevant information to emergency personnel based on a number of contextual factors, using the Infostation to deliver large data files and the slower digital cellular network to maintain continuous connectivity. The application software being developed at WINLAB is intended for demonstration purposes only, and it is expected that software for a specific application will need significant input from a domain expert anad will also require integration with existing information systems used by emergency personnel.

Results-to-date and Future Work Plan
This activity has been started as a "technology transfer" activity on a WINLAB-developed wireless technology of potential value to the NY/NJ region's emergency response infrastructure. A prototype infostations has been developed and used for demonstrations to the homeland security community. In addition, a joint Army STTR project has been started in collaboration with a startup company (Mayflower Inc.) aiming to provide Infostations for use in tactical systems.


Prof. D. Raychaudhuri

Prof. Richard H. Frenkiel

Prof. Max Ott

Ivan Seskar

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