Congestion On The Digital Highway in Russia

The digital highway is getting as clogged up with traffic as our city streets.

That’s the claim by founder and head of Incarnet, Anton Yesin, speaking to TU-Automotive. He explained that when hundreds of automobiles crowd in road congestions, nearby networks get congested too, while prioritization of voice calls further hurts data exchange. Connections can be interrupted in the handover of base stations when moving at high speeds. While travelling along an inter-town road, signal strength would vary all the time and eventually drop below required levels.

In Russia, such holes in coverage can expand to as much as 35% of the road’s whole length. It causes troubles with use of VoIP, stream video, IoT and other OTA-depending services. Demand forced Russian tech companies to come up with some front-edge connectivity-in-movement solutions while the country is still behind the leaders in other aspects of new mobility, Yesin believes.

One solution is by throwing more SIM cards are the problem and Incarnet now boasts routers 8-slots. Although the router supports vehicle’s IoT functions, its primary usage area is in-car infotainment services. “In metropolitan areas it is a sure cool bandwidth,” says car tuning specialist Alexander Arabey, director of development at Kibercar. “When you travel 300+ km from Moscow, it gives any connection at all.”

However, Kibercar’s clients rarely opt for the Incarnet solutions because they are very expensive. One installation costs 100-300 thousand rubles (S1,500-$4,700) with additional 8,000 rubles monthly mobile services fee ($125). “It is aimed at A-list celebrities and rich people who can give out two million rubles for turning their F-class into a mobile office,” said Arabey.

There is an affordable alternative for the mass market costing $100-200 per implementation. In most cases,  a single SIM card router satisfies basic requirements for stream video within towns, says Arabey. For zones with lower stability of connection, two SIM card routers are offered. Instead of Incarnet’s traffic aggregation, those devices switch between networks, choosing the channel with the strongest signal.

So, why have rivals not mimicked Incarnet’s traffic aggregation solution? In some degree, it’s a cyber-security problem. “Using multiple IPs by one end user causes issues with the most services,” explains a cyber-security specialist Igor Bederov, founder and CEO at Internet-Rozysk. “For instance, social networks block the user account in such cases suspecting it’s hacked.”

There’s also a problem for autonomous driving. In its current GSM/LTE version, the technology is hardly suitable for AVs because of latency requirements but it could find implementation in future when 5G networks are been developed, providing safer and more convenient trips.

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