Publication
Ad Hoc Networks
Paper

Human-mobility enabled networks in urban environments: Is there any (mobile wireless) small world out there?

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Abstract

In the last 10 years, new paradigms for wireless networks based on human mobility have gained the attention of the research community. These paradigms, usually referred to as Pocket Switched Networks or Delay Tolerant Networks, jointly exploit human mobility and store-and-forward communications to improve the connectivity in sparse or isolated networks. Clearly, understanding the human mobility patterns is a key challenge for the design of routing protocols based on such paradigms. To this aim, we anonymously collected the positions of almost two thousand mobile phone users, spread over a metropolitan area greater than 200 km2 for roughly one month. Then, with a multi-disciplinary approach, we estimated the mobility patterns from the collected data and, assuming Wi-Fi connectivity, we inferred the contact events among the devices to evaluate the connectivity properties of a human mobility-enabled wireless network. In a nutshell, the contribution of the paper is threefold: (i) it confirms some of the results obtained in smaller environments, such as the power-law distribution for contact and inter-contact times, allowing us to estimate the distribution parameters with high statistical significance; (ii) it addresses the feasibility of the transmission opportunities provided by human mobility to build a city-wide connected network for different forwarding strategies classes; (iii) it shows uncovered characteristics of the connectivity properties of human mobility, such as the presence of the small world phenomenon in wide-scale experiments. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Date

01 Nov 2012

Publication

Ad Hoc Networks