OpCom: Opportunistic Communications

Taking advantage of multiple interfaces and intermittent connectivity


OpComWe all experience the rapid explosion of ubiquity and power of consumer-grade mobile devices. This new community of computing devices is creating a new environment for computing and data communications, through a marriage of peer-to-peer ad-hoc communications, as well as a continually expanding wireless infrastructure. Ad-hoc communications between devices can present new opportunities for communications that can be more efficient by taking advantage of locality and decreasing dependence on infrastructure. At the same time, it is important to recognize the importance of infrastructure in mobile applications--we need it for access to globally available resources that everyone has come to depend on

The goal of this work is to find new and creative ways to utilize all available communications channels that exist with consumer wireless devices of today and of the future. We believe that by leveraging concepts such as ad-hoc communications between nodes, mesh networking, and proxy-enhanced infrastructures, the end user can experience a much richer and interesting networking experience. By examining human connectivity patterns, enhancing application support for environments which experience disconnectivity, and by exploiting new application paradigms, we plan to make global data access and interpersonal communications possibilities seamless and ubiquitous.

Haggle-Unitrans Mobility Trace

We have extended the work done by the European Haggle project, in cooperation with the Intel Research team. The general goal of the Haggle project is to learn about the current state of the interpersonal networking environment by using Intel iMotes to log Bluetooth connectivity patterns.

We ran a series of experiments on the buses to see what sorts of connectivity environments one might find in a public transit scenario.

Acknowledgements We thank the Haggle team for their help with the Intel iMotes, specifically:

  • James Scott, Microsoft Research, Cambridge
  • Richard Gass, Intel Research, Pittsburgh
  • Pan Hui, Cambridge

Middleware: News-feed Subscription Management

One of the most popular networking applications these days revolves around journalistic information. People want to receive news that interests them, and people want to comment on this news, and also publish news of their own. We are examining ways that we can adapt this popular application within the context of an opportunistic networking architecture. The design and implementation of this application is intended to motivate the creation of a more generalized middleware layer for applications that can take advantage of both intermittent infrastructure connectivity as well as peer to peer (ad-hoc) connectivity.




  • J. Bolot, Sprint ATL
  • S. Bhattacharyya
  • S. Keshav, University of Waterloo


  • J. LeBrun (PhD, 2008)


J. LeBrun, C-N. Chuah, S. Bhattacharrya, and J. Bolot, "News-Feed Subscription Management for Intermittently Connected Environments," International Workshop on Improved Mobile User Experience (IMUx), co-located with International Conference on Pervasive Computing, May 2007. [pdf]

J. LeBrun and C-N. Chuah, "Feasibility Study of Bluetooth-Based Content Distribution Stations on Public Transit Systems," ACM MobiShare, September 2006. (Poster paper) [pdf, data]

J. LeBrun, C-N. Chuah, and D. Ghosal, "Knowledge-Based Opportunistic Forwarding in Vehicular Wireless Ad Hoc Networks," IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference, May/June 2005. [pdf]


This project is partly funded by Sprint Advanced Technology Laboratories.