Toronto Networking Seminar

Disruption Tolerant Networks: Capacity Building and Robustness

Mark Corner
Department of Computer Science
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Date:  Friday, October 20,  3pm
Location: BA1170 (Bahen Center)


Disruption Tolerant Networks rely on intermittent contacts between mobile nodes to deliver packets using a store-carry-and-forward paradigm. In this talk, I will present a few results from a UMass-GaTach collaboration to study Disruption Tolerant Networks. We have recently constructed a large-scale DTN, called UMassDieselNet, that runs on a network of 40 busses covering a 120 square mile area. While a number of projects have emerged from this testbed, I will focus on capacity building and robustness. The performance of DTNs can be improved through careful capacity building. We propose the use of throwbox nodes, which are stationary, battery powered nodes with storage and processing, to enhance the capacity of DTNs. However, the use of throwboxes without efficient power management is minimally effective. If the nodes are too liberal with their energy consumption, they will fail prematurely. However if they are too conservative, they may miss important transfer opportunities, hence increasing lifetime without improving performance. I will present a hardware and software architecture for energy efficient throwboxes in DTNs. We propose a hardware platform that uses a multi-tiered, multi-radio, scalable, solar powered platform. Through trace-driven simulations and prototype deployment we show that a single throwbox with a small-sized solar panel can run perpetually while improving packet delivery by 37% and reducing message delivery latency by at least 10% in the network. If time permits, I will also cover our recent efforts in measuring the robustness of DTNs to attack. Just as in traditional networks, malicious nodes within a DTN may attempt to delay or destroy data in transit to its destination. Such attacks include dropping data, flooding the network with extra messages, corrupting routing tables, and counterfeiting network acknowledgments. We conclude that Disruption Tolerant Networks are extremely robust to attack; in our trace-driven evaluations, an attacker that has compromised 30% of all nodes reduces throughput by only 15% and up to 50% with knowledge of future events.


Mark Corner has been an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst since 2003 after graduating with his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. His primary interests lie in the areas of mobile and pervasive computing, networking, file systems and security. He was the recipient of an NSF CAREER award in 2005, a Best Paper Award at ACM Multimedia 2005, as well as the Best Student Paper Award at Mobicom 2002. Prof. Corner's work is supported by the NSF, DARPA, and the NSA.