On search and content availability in opportunistic networks

Esa Hyytiä*, Suzan Bayhan, Jörg Ott, Jussi Kangasharju

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Searching content in mobile opportunistic networks is a difficult problem due to the dynamically changing topology and intermittent connections. Moreover, due to the lack of global view of the network, it is arduous to determine whether the best response is discovered or search should be spread to other nodes. A node that has received a search query has to take two decisions: (i) whether to continue the search further or stop it at the current node (current search depth) and, independently of that, (ii) whether to send a response back or not. As each transmission and extra hop costs in terms of energy, bandwidth and time, a balance between the expected value of the response and the costs incurred must be sought. In order to better understand this inherent trade-off, we consider a model where both the query and response follow the same or similar path. We formulate the problem of optimal search for two cases: a node holds (i) exactly matching content with some probability, and (ii) some content partially matching the query. We design static search in which the search depth is set at query initiation, dynamic search in which search depth is determined locally during query forwarding, and learning dynamic search which leverages the observations to estimate suitability of content for the query. Additionally, we show how unreliable response paths affect the optimal search depth and the corresponding search performance. Moreover, we study different methods to a priori learn the availability of the content in the network based on passive observations (e.g., using regression and maximum-likelihood based estimates). Such information is highly valuable when defining the optimal search parameters. Finally, we investigate the principal factors affecting the optimal search strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-131
Number of pages14
JournalComputer Communications
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Academy of Finland in the PDP project (Grant no. 260014 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Other keywords

  • Availability estimation
  • Dynamic programming
  • Mobile cloud computing
  • Mobile opportunistic networks
  • Mobile search


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