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V2X: Putting New Technologies to Practice


With the rising demand for autonomous vehicles and the simultaneous buzz around connected cities, another topic has emerged for discussion; that of how vehicles will connect to the world around them. Vehicles to Everything, or V2X, refers to the connectivity of vehicles to other vehicles, to cities, to pedestrians, and more. Even without the enablement of automated driving, most new cars today feature some sort of advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) including things such as backup cameras, blind-spot detection and more, which only stand to be enhanced through the addition of greater connectivity.  Wireless communication among vehicles, and between vehicles and infrastructure, promises to greatly reduce collisions and loss of life in the future. The systems under development can make drivers (human or autonomous) aware of dangers that exist outside their visual or sensory field-of-view. These promised advantages to both consumers and communities make this a much needed and anticipated technology.


In V2X communications, interoperability is crucial. The technology must also operate with extreme reliability in a very dynamic environment, with high relative speeds, low latency for dynamic connections and safety-critical message receipt, in crowded urban environments with interfering signals.

There are competing technologies for V2X implementation. The first, and arguably the incumbent technology, is the use of dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), an early variant of Wi-Fi. DSRC radios overcome frequency selective fading, shadowing and high-speed hand-over difficulties, and use 802.11p to accelerate data exchange by reducing initial handshake and association.

A challenge to DSRC comes from the cellular industry in the form of C-V2X, which uses LTE and will upgrade to 5G. Prior to the emergence of C-V2X, most industry and regulators seemed to be behind DSRC. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed legislation in 2016 requiring new vehicles beginning in 2020 or 2021 to install DSRC equipment. However, NHTSA has not moved forward with the regulation, bringing C-V2X to the forefront. C-V2X promises certain technical benefits including increased performance, higher capacity and greater reliability, as well as the ability to offer a larger footprint through which vehicle operators can connect over longer distances. Such benefits would essentially give those on the road a more complete view of their operating environment. In spite of the performance advantages that C-V2X promises over DSRC, the technology has not been as extensively tested.

The lack of final resolution and legislation around which technology will win out in the race to enable connected vehicles and how the corresponding networks will be deployed means that further delays are expected for the automotive industry. In the absence of a final resolution and potential legislative action, manufacturers are already trying to predict which of the developing technologies will equip their vehicles, along with timelines of when they will be V2X ready. For instance, Ford announced at CES 2019 this year in Las Vegas that the company would be committing to C-V2X technology, further announcing that they expect to deliver V2V technology on their fleets by 2022.

Supporters of both DSRC and C-V2X technologies alike hope to improve road safety, while also providing additional benefits to consumers. In the meanwhile, important questions remain, how can C-V2X testing time be shortened? How can potential concerns around scalability of the two technologies be addressed? DSRC and C-V2X may need to coexist, but how will interoperability and interference be tested?


V2X must operate with extreme reliability in very dynamic, crowded urban environments with interfering signals. It must offer high relative speeds, very low latency for dynamic connections and safety-critical message receipt. Significant testing will be needed to guarantee interoperability among devices, starting with the development of performance requirements for V2X and its applications.  Security of the networks will be required for trustworthiness and potential liability issues must be considered for manufacturers receiving information over a network they don’t control.

Nearly 8 billion miles of testing is needed for autonomous vehicles including real-world modeling and scenario building.  Sensor models need to be established for camera, radar, Lidar, ultrasonic, IR and GPS. V2X models need to be tested for reliability of wireless communication, latency and message delivery/ loss.  This is time consuming, resource intensive and challenging to complete in the time frame required by the market.


SCALABLE provides unique network modeling and simulation software to commercial enterprises, government and defense agencies, research organizations and educational institutions around the world. The software enables customers to analyze and predict network performance of communication technologies prior to deployment. It lowers development costs by drastically reducing time to test wireless network performance, reliability and security under varying environmental conditions, including urban environments with thousands of moving vehicles.

SCALABLE’s wireless simulation provides a comprehensive way to assess all aspects of V2X communications. This includes the modeling of vehicle and pedestrian mobility, the impact of environmental and propagation factors like urban terrain, fading, shadowing, path loss and interference, and high-fidelity models of various protocols being used or considered for V2X communications including 802.11p, LTE, Thread, Bluetooth and 5G. Our tools reveal details about network performance at every layer of the stack and are being used to locate problems in various environments and scenarios. and to improve safety on the road.  SCALABLE’s network modeling and simulation tools can also help to make vehicles safer.


The SCALABLE network modeling tools, QualNet and EXata, are used to design, analyze and test networks, networked systems and distributed applications. SCALABLE’s simulation suite can model networks comprised of thousands of nodes at real-time speeds with real world high fidelity.  It also offers faster than real-time network simulation, with extreme high-fidelity, scaling far beyond any competing solution and supports a comprehensive library of communications and cyberattack & defense models. QualNet and EXata can interface with a diverse set of third-party constructive simulators, traffic generators, and visualization applications and provides a powerful capability for developing networked equipment, protocols and waveforms, and experimenting with potential operating scenarios for various network architectures.

SCALABLE’s customers have been using EXata’s 802.11p wireless emulation with real DSRC radios in-the-loop to greatly reduce testing space requirements, time and cost.  The EXata software includes a system-in-the-loop emulation interface and an optional Cyber Library of cyberattacks, defenses and vulnerabilities. This enables the seamless integration of live hardware and applications with the virtual network models for effective operational testing. It also facilitates the assessment of networks as to their resiliency to cyber threats.  EXata can model in-vehicle networks that use the Thread technology, as well as across Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networks.  EXata has been integrated with RT-LAB and offers real-time co-simulation running on OPAL-RT hardware.

The cyber library offers advanced modeling and simulation technology for cyberattacks, defenses and vulnerabilities. These include testing for defensive breach, host vulnerability, denial of service, virus propagation, man-in-the middle attacks, adaptive attacks and more.  The Korean Automotive Technology Institute (KATECH) has already selected SCALABLE’s EXata and has integrated it with a driving simulator. EXata simulates the V2X communications, using its built-in Wireless Access in a Vehicular Environment protocol models, and also models interference, fading, and path loss in rural and urban environments.


SCALABLE provides a powerful capability for simulation of V2X networks that incorporate a diverse variety of environmental, protocol, mobility, and network traffic configurations for urban environments, vehicle mobility, fading, shadowing, path loss and interference, 802.11p, LTE and 5G. The comprehensive solution offers a zero-risk and low cost solution that has multiple advantages over lengthy real-world tests. The faster-than-real-time lab-based simulation lowers costs by drastically reducing time to test wireless network performance, reliability and cyber security under varying environmental conditions, including urban environments with thousands of moving vehicles.  The savings in terms of cost, set-up time, analysis time, and physical space for testing are significant and the tools are being used by manufacturers throughout the world.  By allowing manufacturers to rapidly attest a comprehensive suite of scenarios, our tools help to make vehicles safer and improve safety on the road.

For more information on SCALABLE Networks EXata Solution click here.

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