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V2x: 802.11p trumps LTE and 5G

Posted: 09 May 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:C-ITS? vehicle-to-infrastructure? V2I? V2V? V2x?

All cellular-based V2x services will require the active cooperation of application service providers (ASPs), so as to achieve the largest benefits from cooperative data-sharing. From a business standpoint, ASPs will have to define new models for cooperation, and these models will only develop very gradually. V2x services based on 802.11p don't require this kind of cooperation, since messages have already been standardised, and are sent out in the clear.

Timeline of cellular for V2x
We can be certain that the cellular community will find a technical solution for V2x, since the 3GPP has a very strong record with technology. The question is not really if, but when, since there is still a lot of work to be done.

Figure 5: Timeline of IEEE 802.11p versus cellular technologies for supporting the V2V use case. Current and future LTE releases support V2V in a more and more efficient way. However, only LTE-V2x is designed to address the V2V use cases properly and it will be ready for large scale deployment only around 2023.

It's reasonable to expect that support for V2x use-cases will become part of the 3GPP standard, at the earliest, with Releases 14 and 15, which are likely to be finalized by the end of 2017. It will then take more time C many years, perhaps C for the technology to be fully rolled out. In the past, large-scale infrastructure upgrades have, as mentioned above, taken as long as six years to complete. Using a similar timeline, V2x services for LTE-A won't be available until about 2023, and that's becoming optimistic (figure 5).

The more realistic scenario is that V2x will be included in Release 16 onwards, in what is being referred to as 5G (figure 6). At the moment, 5G remains a very broad concept. One of its most intriguing aspects, though, is that it will be heterogeneous in nature, with one umbrella technology that links together multiple, dissimilar communication pipes. V2x is likely to become part of the 5G ecosystem, with fundamentally redesigned hardware to support the architectural changes.

Figure 6: 5G roadmap

Source: 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP), 2015

By the time the cellular community is able to address all V2x use-cases, other technologies, including 802.11p, are likely to have already been put in place. This will make cellular a new competitor in a field that already has established players.

One might argue that waiting for cellular-based technologies would make sense because it means being able to re-use the car's existing communication pipe. However, as mentioned above, the hardware requirements for V2x are likely to be different enough that they will require separate solutions. Also, V2x use cases may become part of the 3GPP system, but probably won't become part of the mass-market silicon designed for mobile phones.

Safety and privacy considerations for cellular
Security is another aspect that needs to be considered. Current cellular systems use the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card in the phone for network authentication. The network recognises the SIM card and, based on this recognition, provides a secure connection. SIMs may work for network-assisted V2x communication, but in the absence of a network, there needs to be some other kind of security mechanism in place. 802.11p defines this kind of security mechanism, and the 3GPP may well adopt a similar approach, but has not yet formally addressed the issue.

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