In the architectural design of a communication technology the assignment of responsibilities to its different modules or layers is a key issue. The modularization and assignment of functions to modules has a strong impact on the system performance. In this paper, we address data forwarding as a key responsibility of a VANETs (Vehicular Ad hoc NETwork) communication device. More specifically, we discuss two different approaches, packet-centric forwarding (PCF) and information-centric forwarding (ICF), both aimed to disseminate information in a VANET environment. Basically, assuming a layered protocol design adapted to VANETs, it is argued where and how functions related to node connectivity and data transport could be implemented.
Discussing pros and cons of ICF and PCF, we define amodular information-based architecture with a hybrid approach for dissemination of safety information where: i) information forwarding responsibilities reside in the application protocol layer(s) and exploit the applications capability of information modification, aggregation, and invalidation, ii) packet forwarding functionalities are implemented in the network protocol layer to rapidly disseminate information of very high priority (safety-of-life), and iii) low-cost nodes incapable of processing safety-related information, can be used to increase network connectivity.