Augmenting Mobile 3G with WiFi

  • Ratul Mahajan ,
  • Aruna Balasubramanian ,
  • Arun Venkataramani

MobiSys 2010 |

Published by Association for Computing Machinery, Inc.

We investigate if WiFi access can be used to augment 3G capacity in mobile environments. We first conduct a detailed study of 3G and WiFi access from moving vehicles, in three different cities. We find that the average 3G and WiFi availability across the cities is 87% and 11%, respectively. WiFi throughput is lower than 3G throughput, and WiFi loss rates are higher. We then design a system, called Wiffler, to augments mobile 3G capacity. It uses two key ideas leveraging delay tolerance and fast switching|to overcome the poor availability and performance of WiFi. For delay tolerant applications, Wiffler uses a simple model of the environment to predict WiFi connectivity. It uses these predictions to delays transfers to offload more data on WiFi, but only if delaying reduces 3G usage and the transfers can be completed within the application’s tolerance threshold. For applications that are extremely sensitive to delay or loss (e.g., VoIP), Wiffler quickly switches to 3G if WiFi is unable to successfully transmit the packet within a small time window. We implement and deploy Wiffler in our vehicular testbed. Our experiments show that Wiffler significantly reduces 3G usage. For a realistic workload, the reduction is 45% for a delay tolerance of 60 seconds.