Wireless Rover

Research Goals

WiRover system diagram.

The WiRover system was developed to serve multiple purposes. First, WiRover is a research platform designed to study the vehicular network environment. The system was further designed to solve real-world problems. This enables us to provide services that both benefit our local community and our research. We feel that it is important to give back to our community and to also focus our research with the end-user in mind. Our users often provide valuable feedback which enables us to continually improve our system and the services that we provide to our users.

System Overview

WiRover is a computer networking system that was developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an effort to improve Internet connectivity to vehicles. To provide Internet service inside a vehicle the WiRover system utilizes any form of standard wireless Internet connectivity available. For example, the WiRover system can utilize multiple forms of cellular Internet connections as well as WiFi Internet connections.

The WiRover system provides a cost effective solution since multiple users and devices can all share a single network connection. The system is capable of improving the user's experience by connecting to multiple different wireless Internet providers simultaneously. This improves the system's network performance by both increasing the bandwidth available to the system as well as increasing network diversity. Network diversity increases the chances that the system will have Internet connectivity from at least one network provider when there may not be network coverage from the other providers.

Currently, the WiRover system is installed on a limited number of Madison Metro buses as well as a limited number of Van Galder Coach buses. The system provides passengers with Internet connectivity while they are riding the bus. This service was started in April of 2010 and since then we are proud to have provided service to tens of thousands of users. We plan to continue our efforts to improve the network performance that people such as these have experienced.

Technical Advantages

The WiRover system boasts multiple technical advantages:

  • Heterogeneous multi-homed design.
  • Increased network diversity.
  • Bandwidth aggregation.
  • Network performance prediction.
  • Traffic optimizations.
  • Data usage management.
These features increase the reliability and performance of the WiRover system. These features further allow the WiRover system to be a much more cost effective solution than most solutions that are currently commercially available.

Usage Statistics

Currently our experimental (beta) version has been running on multiple passenger buses since April of 2010. Since that time we have served Internet connectivity to many bus passengers.

Estimated number of distinct users served.
Estimated accumulated growth of bytes uploaded and downloaded.

On the left we present an estimate of the number of users we have served since approximately Oct. 2010 when we began recording the metric. On the right, we have observed that many users take advantage of the free WiFi service generating hundreds of gigabytes of network traffic.