Heterogeneity of Device Contact Process in Pocket Switched Networks

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Understanding device pair’s contacts is essential in pocket switched networks (PSN). However, most of the studies on this issue are focused on the empirical distribution aggregating inter-contact times from all the device pairs, and seeking to find common characteristics of their contact processes. In this paper, we present an insightful analysis on both the aggregated and the pair-wise inter-contact times obtained from three real-world datasets. We find that device pairs are heterogeneous in many aspects, including not only their contact frequencies, but also their contact patterns. More surprisingly, even for those frequently contacting pairs, their behaviors are diverse, and could not be described with a universal model. Finally, implication of the observed heterogeneity on PSN’s message forwarding algorithm is discussed, and we show that with the awareness of the device pair’s heterogeneous contact pattern, the network’s message relaying service could be improved considerably.