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The new faces of internet (part 2)

Sogeti Labs
August 05, 2013

DavidExcoffierInternet of heterogeneous and spontaneous networks The increasing rate of Internet speed is on a par with the emergence of new kind of networks. Internet is now available on multiple networks, both wired (telephone line, optical cable, electrical networks) or wireless (mobile networks, WiFi, …), but the heterogeneity of these networks make it more complex to transport the data from one point to another. These “legacy” networks are widely spread and used all over the world, data are routed by fixed devices, on fixed wired lines or access points. But new kinds of networks are emerging: the so-called “spontaneous networks”. Unlike the legacy ones, these new networks have the ability to create and organize themselves independently and opportunistically, depending on the available transmission technologies, the devices connected to them, and required services. All equipments on the network are interconnecting to the next gradually, without a central hierarchy, forming a mesh structure. These mesh networks provide some advantages compared to traditional networks, especially by authorizing to destroy sensitive connection points, which in case of failure, would cut access to some of the connected equipments. In a mesh network, if a device is falling down, the neighboring devices can continue to communicate using just another communication path, step by step. The Internet of spontaneous networks is characterized by a great heterogeneity of communication technologies, bandwidths, and the lack of continuous connectivity. However, much remains to be done in some areas:

  • Develop behaviors allowing an efficient management of random connectivity, including a redefinition of dynamic data routing.
  • Provide communication protocols taking into account the properties of radio links, and based on an integrated design (cross-layer integration).
  • Create new services adapted to this type of opportunistic networks: mobility management, maintenance, security and sustainability data, etc..
Using this type of network opens up new perspectives in both civil and military domains, as these two examples can show you: Cars In the civil domain, by allowing vehicles or devices to communicate with each other independently: the simTD project (, a joint project by leading German vehicle manufacturers, components suppliers, telecommunication companies and research institutions, are working on such kind of communication technologies (“Car-to-X” communication) for:
  • Road safety : connect individual vehicles with the help of, in order to enlarge the detectable sector around the vehicle,
  • Traffic efficiency: individualize traffic monitoring and traffic control by using individual vehicles for data acquisition and at the same time providing individual information and suggesting routes for each vehicle – based on its destination and the specific traffic situation.
  • Integrating value-added services: with individual communication and data processing, drivers can receive hotel information in their vehicles, review local points of interest and leisure activities or download music and other media…
Coinciding with this project, similar research programs exist on the same domain, e.g. from the U.S. Department of Transportation, relying on car- to-car and car-to-object communications, investigating also the potential of using Smartphone signals to communicate with pedestrians and cyclists. According to GM’s CEO in June 2013, “The car is the next major tech platform” (source: In the military domain, with the possibility to interconnect equipment worn by projected on-ground military troops or emergency units on any theater of operations (e.g. in case of natural disasters where existing networks are usually destroyed / out-of-order). This is a technological breakthrough compared to current “legacy” centralized/fixed solutions. Solutions based on mesh networks:
  • Can be rapidly deployed and in a very efficient and simplified way (because they are not based on any pre-existing network).
  • Offer high scalability of their coverage.
  • Are highly tolerant to fault and interferences due to the grid infrastructure.
  • Significantly reduce installation and operating costs.
Internet of heterogeneous and spontaneous wireless networks is marked by a huge heterogeneity of communications technologies, bandwidth, and by the lack of uninterrupted communication. There is still a lot of research and innovation to do in several domains, such as :
  • Develop behaviors for effective considerations of random connectivity, including a dynamic redefinition of data routing.
  • Providing communication protocols that take into account the properties of the radio links, based on an integrated conception  (cross-layer integration).
  • Create new value-added services adapted to this kind of opportunistic  networks: mobility, maintenance, data security, …
The evolution of these networks can’t be separated from other usages of internet, and my next blog articles might talk about some other faces of internet:
  • Internet of contents.
  • Internet of services.
  • Internet of (every-)things.
Stay tuned on SogetiLabs blog !

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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