Island Hopping: Efficient Mobility-Assisted Forwarding in Partitioned Networks
Mobile wireless ad hoc and sensor networks can be permanently partitioned in many interesting scenarios. This implies that instantaneous end-to-end routes do not exist. Nevertheless, when nodes are mobile, it is possible to forward messages to their destinations through mobility. In these many interesting settings we observe that spatial node distributions are very heterogeneous and possess concentration points of high node density. The locations of these concentration points and the flow of nodes between them tend to be stable over time. This motivated us to propose a novel mobility model, where nodes move randomly between stable islands of connectivity, where they are likely to encounter other nodes, while connectivity is very limited outside these islands. Our goal is to exploit such a stable topology of concentration points by developing algorithms that allow nodes to collaborate in order to discover this topology and to use it for efficient mobility forwarding. We achieve this without any external signals to nodes, such as geographic positions or fixed beacons; instead, we rely only on the evolution of the set of neighbors of each node. We propose an algorithm for this collaborative graph discovery problem and show that the inferred topology can greatly improve the efficiency of mobility forwarding. Using the proposed mobility model we show through simulations that our approach achieves end-to-end delays comparable to those of epidemic approaches and requires a significantly lower transmission overhead.