The aim of the netBaltic project is to define and implement in a maritime environment - a fully heterogeneous self organizing broadband mesh network consisting of moving vessels employing a set of wireless technologies integrated by an intelligent interface selection module and equipped with effective switching mechanisms, efficient routing protocol providing optimum transmission parameters for an existing network topology - all independently of the transmission technique being used. netBaltic will provide mechanisms for economically viable, wideband network connectivity over sea areas, as an alternative to costly satellite-based solutions. Much of research is focused on solutions located in higher layers of TCP/IP architecture. The designed mechanisms create an architecture integrating different wireless broad-band technologies. The system utilizes a concept of dynamical division of its operational region into three areas, presented in Fig. 1, where different principles of network organization and different communication mechanisms are employed.
The first one (area A), spread out along a coast, defines mobility management mechanisms for handling vessels' movements, to provide uninterrupted connections across a set of different wireless technologies. The one-hop communication in this area employs popular wireless technologies (such as WiMAX, LTE, Wi-Fi) or technologies dedicated to maritime usage. Advanced mobility management mechanisms are used to provide uninterrupted communication at the network layer with IPv6 protocol.
In the case of the second area (area B), nodes form a heterogeneous, self-organizing mesh network, capable of providing connectivity in both ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore scenarios. Additional information from the AIS system (Automatic Identification System) is utilized to provide an increased efficiency and reliability of the proposed solution, by giving the system an ability to predict ongoing changes in mesh network structure.
The last one (area C) is dedicated to nodes located far away from the rest of vessels, and as a result, being able to establish connections only very occasionally. The group of mechanisms needed in this area utilizes concepts of a dedicated, delay-tolerant network system.