Top wireless researchers are pushing the boundaries for
the 4G future with new technology that displays open parking spots in the congested Brooklyn neighborhood adjoining Polytechnic
Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly).
NYU-Poly and Rutgers University professors and students beamed their live demonstration this week to Washington, D.C., where more than 300 researchers from academia, industry and government gathered as part of a National Science Foundation initiative to take America's mobile phone systems beyond today's typical third-generation mobile networks (hence 3G) to 4G, in which data is transmitted up to 15 times faster. The project is called GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations), and it aims to encourage experimentation and research in wired and wireless networks.
The one-day Brooklyn parking demonstration used NYU-Poly's new open,
public 4G WiMAX network and eight automobiles equipped with ultrasonic
sensors developed by Rutgers. As drivers cruised downtown Brooklyn
streets within the NYU-Poly/GENI 4G network, sensors fed data to the 4G
antenna atop its Dibner Building at 5 MetroTech Center, then to the
Rutgers server where its ParkNet software compiled real-time information
on a map that showed each parking spot either red (filled) or green
(available). Thanks to the high-speed capability of 4G, researchers
could view the maps in real time on their 4G-equipped laptops. Any
commercialized version would include 4G smartphones, too.
Researchers envision that drivers would equip their vehicles with
such sensors in exchange for information that would let them make
informed decisions about whether to take mass transit or park at a
distance from their destination.
Traffic congestion costs the U.S. $78 billion annually. One Brooklyn
neighborhood (Park Slope) study found 45 percent of driving is in search
of a parking space; in SoHo, it's 28 percent. Congestion also takes a
heavy toll on air quality.
The parking demonstration was transmitted live to the GENI
Engineering Conference #9, and it was the first example at NYU-Poly of
the technology that the GENI 4G network will enable. Working with
Rutgers, Raytheon BBN technologies and five other universities all using
the same WiMAX network, students and faculty will explore research and
innovation aimed at opening network experimentation to more people.
Rutgers is the lead university, and NYU-Poly piloted the WiMAX platform
for all the schools.
"The WiMAX network will allow NYU-Poly to accelerate our
contributions to cooperative networking and advance the leading research
conducted at NYU-Poly's Center for Advanced Technology in
Telecommunications, one of the State of New York's original Centers for
Advanced Technology, as well as the Wireless Internet Center for
Advanced Technology, funded by the NSF," said Shivendra Panwar, director
of both centers. "It will prove particularly helpful in helping us
design and develop standards for cooperative networking, a technology
that promises to greatly increase the reliability and speed of wireless
Thanasis Korakis, research assistant professor, heads the 4G project at NYU-Poly.
The Federal Communications Commission granted NYU-Poly two licenses
for channels within the 4G band to establish a public 4G WiMAX network
and study it. A 4G hot spot differs from the typical WiFi hot spot in
that a single tower covers an area large enough to allow connections
while the user is mobile. Several new laptops have 4G WiMAX capability;
earlier models can install an inexpensive dongle to access NYU-Poly's
coverage free of charge.