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Is the temporal dimension alone sufficient to characterize contacts in opportunistic networks? Several studies analyze the temporal aspect of contacts with significant results concerning contact and inter-contact distributions. Nevertheless, only the temporal dimension does not give a complete overview of contact characterization. In this paper, we propose the surround indicator as a metric to exhibit the contact's surrounding environment in opportunistic networks. We evaluate the surround indicator on two existing datasets and show that contacts have too heterogeneous and too unstable surrounds to be considered only in terms of duration. Besides a large variability of the surrounding environment within the duration of a single contact, it is frequent to observe contacts of identical duration that exhibit differences in their surrounds of more than a hundred times.
Date of Conference: 26-30 Sept. 2010