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Service discovery in mobile ad hoc networks: a field theoretic approach

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3 Author(s)
V. Lenders ; Swiss Fed. Inst. of Technol., Zurich, Switzerland ; M. May ; B. Plattner

Service discovery in mobile ad hoc networks is challenging because of the absence of any central intelligence in the network. Traditional solutions, as used in the Internet, are hence not well suited for mobile ad hoc networks. We present a novel decentralized service discovery mechanism for ad hoc networks. The basic idea is to distribute information about available services to the network neighborhood. We achieve this by using the analogy of an electrostatic field. A service is modeled by a (positive) point charge, and service request packets are seen as (negative) test charges which are attracted by the service instances. We map the physical model to a mobile ad hoc network in a way where each network element calculates a potential value and routes service requests towards the neighbor with the highest potential, hence towards a service instance. Our approach allows for differentiation of service instances based on their capacity. We define the required protocols and methods which we implemented in a network simulator. Using extensive simulations, we evaluate the performance and robustness of the mechanisms. The results indicate good performance and convergence, even in highly mobile environments. We believe that this technique can, and should, be further exploited, e.g., as a routing protocol in mobile networks.

Published in:

Sixth IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless Mobile and Multimedia Networks

Date of Conference:

13-16 June 2005