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The fourth generation (4G) network paradigm has long been sought. A user-centric vision for such "always best connected" next-generation 4G networks is neighborhood wireless mesh networks (WMNs). In this context, the vision for the formation of WMNs reflects the trade-off between the immediate self-interest of the user, and the user's need for social contacts. Notably, users would be required to pool their resources in order to support the creation and operation of the underlying communication network (participating at all physical, access, and network layers), but also for the service provision on top of it. We argue that the design of communities suitable for this environment will encourage users to participate, enable trustworthy network creation, and provide a social layer, which can be exploited in order to design cross-layer incentive mechanisms that will further encourage users to share their resources and cooperate at lower layers.
Date of Publication: Spring 2008