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An ad hoc network allows devices with wireless interfaces to communicate with each other without any pre-installed infrastructure. Due to node mobility, limited radio power, node failure and wide deployment area, ad hoc networks are often vulnerable to network partitioning. A number of examples are in battlefield, disaster recovery and wide area surveillance. Unfortunately, most existing ad hoc routing protocols will fail to deliver messages under these circumstances since no route to the destination exists. In this work we propose the Message Ferrying or MF scheme that provides efficient data delivery in disconnected ad hoc networks. In the MF scheme, nodes move proactively to send or receive messages. By introducing non-randomness in a node's proactive movement and exploiting such nonrandomness to deliver messages, the MF scheme improves data delivery performance in a disconnected network. In this paper, we propose the basic design of the MF scheme and develop a general framework to classify variations of MF systems. We also study ferry route design problem in stationary node case which is shown to be NP-hard and provide an efficient algorithm to compute ferry route.
Date of Conference: 28-30 May 2003