Mobile crowd-sourced P2P

25 Nov 2009

One day, your mobile phone may be a node in an ad hoc mesh video broadcast network.

That's the goal of an agreement between Singapore's A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) and Australia's ICT Research Centre of Excellence (NICTA).

The two research bodies plan to design an architecture for creating temporary wireless networks using the existing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections on cell-phones, says I2R Project Leader Associate Professor Tham Chen-Khong.

"Most of the novelty will be in the network and application layers which handle the network interconnection and content streaming, as well as the trust, cooperation and incentive aspects," he explains.

Think of it as crowd-sourced peer-to-peer content distribution via handheld nodes that join the network once they're in range of each other.

Potential applications could include audience members at a music concert sharing live video streams from their physical location, providing different views of the performance in real time. The network would be set up and torn down between nodes as needed, rather than be always on - which would theoretically make it a cheaper option to using the 3.5G network as a go-between.

Meanwhile, related developments could aid the I2R/NICTA project. For example, starting next year, the Wi-Fi Alliance is planning to certify peer-to-peer capability in Wi-Fi devices with a new standard called Wi-Fi Direct that allows all Wi-Fi devices to connect directly to each other without requiring a hub.

And a recent paper from Cambridge University describes a new programming language called D3N (Data-Driven Declarative Networking) designed to reduce the complexity of building applications for ad hoc peer-to-peer mobile device networks, according to MIT Technology Review.

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