Loosely controlled Wi-Fi networks, such as deployed at festivals and events, typically do not provide a full coverage of the terrain. As a result, the user experience of a mobile user watching a video stream is rather erratic, because of frequent disconnections and re-connections. However, these periods of disconnections are generally rather short (10 - 50 seconds for a coverage area of around 70%). To ensure a continuous experience one needs to graciously handle these “disconnection gaps” until a client connects to the subsequent access point. In this paper we will introduce a disconnection prediction (DP) mechanism and pre-fetcher (PF) to successfully initiate a transparent handover ensuring a continuous user experience for video streaming.
The DP predicts disconnections and re-connections based on a collaboratively generated connectivity map. This information is used to activate the pre-fetcher, which will start to download video material to the users device, that will be needed during the disconnected period. When the mobile user physically disconnects from the network, the video will continue to play as the requested data has been buffered on the mobile device. When the user re-enters a connected area, the wireless network connection is restored and operation is resumed as normal.