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Universal, mobile-centric and opportunistic communications architecture

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - UMOBILE (Universal, mobile-centric and opportunistic communications architecture)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2018-04-30

The Internet has crossed new frontiers with access to it getting faster and cheaper. Considering the architectural foundations of today’s Internet were laid more than three decades ago, the Internet has done remarkably well until today to cope with the growing demand. However, the Future Internet architecture is not only expected to support ever growing number of users and devices, but also diverse set of new applications and services. At one extreme, the Future Internet is expected to transport applications such as tele-immersion and at the other extreme to connect vast numbers of tiny devices integrated into appliances, sensors, actuators, and a range of previously independent systems forming the notion of Internet of Things (IoT). The Future Internet is most importantly expected to support the ever-growing need of user mobility.

Now here lies the main obstacle: it is impossible to have 100% universal coverage. Access problems often result from sparsely spread populations living in physically remote locations – it is simply not cost effective for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to install the required infrastructure for broadband Internet access to these areas. Coupled with physical limitations of terrestrial infrastructures (mainly due to distance) to provide last mile access, remote communities also incur higher costs for connection between the exchange and backbone network when using wired technologies because the distances are larger.

Based on the aforementioned vision, the UMOBILE project has the following objectives:

Objective 1: To develop a consolidated information centric and delay tolerant communication platform

Objective 2: To extend the boundaries of Future Internet

Objective 3: To enable a tighter integration of opportunistic communications within the Internet

Objective 4: To drive new application and services

Objective 5: To drive the Internet towards a communication platform for universal coverage

Objective 6: To create an engagement platform that will bring together stakeholders with interests in universal coverage
The core activity of the project has been the development of new features, mechanisms and applications as part of the overall UMOBILE architecture. In particular, the consortium has worked on:
- The integration of ICN and DTN in order to provide delay-tolerant features in an information-centric framework;
- A mechanism that migrates services at the edges of the network and closer to the end-users, so that services can be accessed faster, even in cases of disaster when typical Internet connectivity fails;
- The design of a smart routing mechanism that is adaptive to different communication scenarios;
- The introduction of push services within the Named Data Networking architecture that is inherently based on the pull model;
- The development of a tool that captures wireless footprint aspects of end-users to assist in usage contextualization;
- The definition of an innovative naming scheme that adds new features to the UMOBILE architecture through the use of hashtags;
- A new application-centric information sharing framework oriented to support and provide opportunistic computing to mobile devices (smartphones, tablets etc.) and;
- The design and development of a testbed, i.e. UMOBILE lab, to evaluate the developed solutions.
The aforementioned new features have been detailed in D3.1.
The first version of a congestion control mechanism that enhances QoS by means of avoiding congestion problems that might result in packet loss, high latency and low throughput has also been detailed, along with its evaluation, in D4.1.

Apart from the technical work, progress has also been made in the dissemination, exploitation and standardization activities. More specifically, a project website and an internal wiki have been created to host project news and promote communication among partners, respectively. A detailed dissemination plan has been created within the first months of the project (D6.1) and all dissemination activities within the first reporting period of the project have been detailed in D6.2. Moreover, the consortium defined a detailed exploitation plan (D6.4) a standardization plan (D6.6) as well as a data management plan (D6.10) to handle the open data outcomes of the project.
The primary goal of the UMOBILE project is to gracefully integrate the disruptive ICN and DTN technologies with the current IP-based Internet communication system, forming one single architecture that will enable the Future Internet to be fully pervasive. Our ambitions are summarized as follows:

Ambition 1: Adapt the NDN architecture to reflect a native content distribution network
Given the fact that the ICN community has moved towards adopting the Named Data Networking (NDN) architecture as the reference architecture, in UMOBILE project we propose relevant adjustments to the NDN architecture, focusing on the edges of the network.

Ambition 2: Develop new name-based forwarding and replication schemes for ICN
Within the UMOBILE project, we introduce KEBAPP, a new application-centric information sharing framework oriented to support and provide opportunistic computing to mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.).

Ambition 3: Develop an integrated ICN-DTN platform
The envisioned UMOBILE architecture will efficiently operate in different network situations. Our intention is to extend the reach of ICN architectures to disconnected networks. Therefore, we intend to enhance the ICN architectural approach with an inherent tolerance to delays, disruptions and disconnections, inserting the DTN principles into the core UMOBILE architecture.

Ambition 4: Enable social-based DTN routing support
In order to perform social-aware opportunistic forwarding, the UMOBILE project is developing a novel forwarding strategy based on social weights among neighbour wireless devices.

Ambition 5: Enable content, host and user mobility
UMOBILE aims to push network services (e.g. mobility management, intermittent connectivity support) and user services (e.g. pervasive content management) as close as possible to the end-users. By pushing such services closer to the users, we can optimize, in a scalable way, aspects such as bandwidth utilization and resource management.

The key expected impact of UMOBILE project is to bring together existing technologies to architect a platform that targets the mobile part of the Internet and assists mobile users in getting access to the content they want as well as content that may be of shared interest to their trust circles.

UMOBILE touches on a number of areas directly, but, given the fundamental role that the Internet plays in modern societies and economies, its main benefits (i.e. enabling opportunistic Internet access) are likely to be society-wide. As a result, potential beneficiaries are numerous. These include: local and national government, the general public, industry, academia, and third sector. The value is international in scope, as it is desirable for all nations, developed and developing.