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This paper presents a novel multicopy routing protocol for disruption-tolerant networks whose objective is to minimize energy expended on communication. The protocol is designed for disaster-response applications, where power and infrastructure resources are disrupted. Unlike other delay-tolerant networks, energy is a vital resource in post disaster scenarios to ensure availability of (disruption-tolerant) communication until infrastructure is restored. Our approach exploits naturally recurrent mobility and contact patterns in the network, formed by rescue workers, volunteers, survivors, and their (possibly stranded) vehicles to reduce the number of message copies needed to attain an adequate delivery ratio in the face of disconnection and intermittent connectivity. A new notion of intercontact routing is proposed that allows estimating route delays and delivery probabilities, identifying more reliable routes and controlling message replication and forwarding accordingly. In addition, we augment the protocol with a differentiated message delivery service that enables the network to function even in an extremely low energy condition. We simulate the scheme using a mobility model that reflects recurrence inspired by disaster scenarios and compare our results to previous DTN routing techniques. The evaluation shows that the new approach reduces the resource overhead per message over previous approaches while maintaining a comparable delivery ratio at the expense of a small (bounded) increase in latency.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2013