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Reliable Communication, ­nreliable Networks

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A representation of an ad hoc network.

A new framework for analyzing ad hoc networks considers how the quality of communication links fluctuate with new algorithms to reach maximum efficiency.

Credit: MIT News

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers recently unveiled a framework for analyzing ad hoc networks in which the quality of the communications links fluctuate with new algorithms to reach maximal efficiency.

Past theoretical analyses of ad hoc networks have been based on the assumption that network communications links are stable, which often is not borne out with real-world wireless devices.

"There's been a discrepancy between the theory, with its idealized models, and the reality of wireless networks," says MIT professor Nancy Lynch. "When people start designing theoretical algorithms, they tend to rely too heavily on the specific assumptions of the models. So the algorithms tend to be unrealistic and fragile."

The team modeled the fluctuation in link quality as the intentional interference of an adversary, who cannot control all of the network links. Some links continue to function during the execution of the communication algorithm, but the adversary can change the bandwidth of other links and the network designer does not have prior knowledge of which links are reliable.

The algorithms defeated the adversary by randomly assigning each node a probability of transmitting during a round of communication, instead of using a preassigned sequence.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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