On leveraging partial paths in partially-connected networks

Simon Heimlicher*, Merkouris Karaliopoulos, Hanoch Levy, Thrasyvoulos Spyropoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Mobile wireless network research focuses on scenarios at the extremes of the network connectivity continuum where the probability of all nodes being connected is either close to unity, assuming connected paths between all nodes (mobile ad hoc networks), or it is close to zero, assuming no multi-hop paths exist at all (delay-tolerant networks). In this paper, we argue that a sizable fraction of networks lies between these extremes and is characterized by the existence of partial paths, i.e., multi-hop path segments that allow forwarding data closer to the destination even when no end-to-end path is available. A fundamental issue in such networks is dealing with disruptions of end-to-end paths. Under a stochastic model, we compare the performance of the established end-to-end retransmission (ignoring partial paths), against a forwarding mechanism that leverages partial paths to forward data closer to the destination even during disruption periods. Perhaps surprisingly, the alternative mechanism is not necessarily superior. However, under a stochastic monotonicity condition between current vs. future path length, which we demonstrate to hold in typical network models, we manage to prove superiority of the alternative mechanism in stochastic dominance terms. We believe that this study could serve as a foundation to design more efficient data transfer protocols for partially-connected networks, which could potentially help reducing the gap between applications that can be supported over disconnected networks and those requiring full connectivity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE INFOCOM 2009 - The 28th Conference on Computer Communications
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event28th Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2009 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Duration: 19 Apr 200925 Apr 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference28th Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2009
CityRio de Janeiro


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