» Project Homepage

Ubiquitous Peer-to-Peer Applications in Wireless Ad hoc Networks

Supervisor:Naranker Dulay
Room No.:562

This project is both research and implementation oriented. The first phase will comprise of an in-depth investigation into recent developments in the wireless mobile, peer-to-peer and ad hoc network arenas, in order to review the 'state-of-the-art' and identify technical challenges that the project will hope to address. The intention is then to design and implement a novel wireless peer-to-peer application that will successfully demonstrate the innovative techniques developed and the commercial possibilities.

It is envisaged that the implementation will run on currently available 2G/3G mobile terminals and/or PDAs, utilising an environment such as J2ME, Symbian C++ or Microsoft's CE .NET framework.

In the space of just a few years, peer-to-peer (P2P) networking has become a computing phenomenon. Millions of Internet users are communicating with each other through P2P file sharing software programs that allow a group of computer users to share text, audio and video files stored on each other's computers. However, as it becoming increasingly evident, P2P networks have capabilities and uses that stretch far beyond ‘file trading’.

With the proliferation of mobile devices such as cellular telephones and PDAs, and the increasingly pervasive nature of wireless technology, it is clear that there is no longer a need for us to restrict peer-to-peer applications to fixed computers on wired networks, or indeed to constrict cellular users to traditional client/server applications such as WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). P2P and wireless technology are an ideal match, and deploying the two together will enable us to exploit a wide range of new opportunities that were previously not feasible. The inherent nature of mobile devices, in that they are suitably lightweight and portable to be carried around by people, makes them ideal instruments to form the peers of a global wireless data network, where information can be shared between individuals in a ubiquitous manner.

Unfortunately current 2G and 3G mobile networks are not suitable in isolation for delivering mobile P2P services, due to the relatively high cost of data transmission, latency and limited footprint. A mobile ad hoc network is a system comprised of mobile devices that act as both hosts and routers, communicating wirelessly in an arbitrary way without an existing network infrastructure. The devices on an ad hoc network are free to move about and the topology of this kind of network is therefore dynamic. A key feature is multi-hop support, which for example could allow a device that is outside traditional mobile coverage to still be able to access services by relaying requests to another device that is in range over a technology such as Bluetooth. Alternatively, it may be more economical to send data using a nearby WiFi hotspot rather than through a GSM mobile network – the potential practical uses of ad hoc technology are only limited by imagination. By introducing a peer-to-peer architecture over such a scheme could enable users to access fully decentralised applications and to discover new resources as and when they become available.

Potential applications include: