Self-Sustaining Caching Stations: Towards Cost-Effective 5G-Enabled Vehicular Networks

Shan Zhang, Ning Zhang, Xiaojie Fang, Peng Yang, Xuemin, Shen

In this article, we investigate the cost-effective 5G-enabled vehicular networks to support emerging vehicular applications, such as autonomous driving, in-car infotainment and location-based road services. To this end, self-sustaining caching stations (SCSs) are introduced to liberate on-road base stations from the constraints of power lines and wired backhauls. Specifically, the cache-enabled SCSs are powered by renewable energy and connected to core networks through wireless backhauls, which can realize "drop-and-play" deployment, green operation, and low-latency services. With SCSs integrated, a 5G-enabled heterogeneous vehicular networking architecture is further proposed, where SCSs are deployed along roadside for traffic offloading while conventional macro base stations (MBSs) provide ubiquitous coverage to vehicles. In addition, a hierarchical network management framework is designed to deal with high dynamics in vehicular traffic and renewable energy, where content caching, energy management and traffic steering are jointly investigated to optimize the service capability of SCSs with balanced power demand and supply in different time scales. Case studies are provided to illustrate SCS deployment and operation designs, and some open research issues are also discussed.

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