BidPacket: trading bandwidth in public spaces

  • Bernardo A. Huberman
  • Sitaram Asur
Open Access


Smart devices such as smartphones and tablets are used extensively in public spaces for the transmission and reception of content in the form of text, photos and streaming videos. Since the bandwidth provided for wireless access is limited in public areas, it becomes an issue for users to gain access to the bandwidth they need at the right times. While an omniscient controller could assign bandwidth to each device on the basis of their needs and overall availability, imperfect information about the instantaneous state of the wifi access patterns and needs of users make for a very inefficient allocation of such bandwidth. This paper provides a solution for bandwidth allocation by creating a market among users of smart devices so that they can bid for extra bandwidth when they need it and sell it when they don’t. They do so by using a virtual currency that is conserved so that each device owner maximizes his own utility. This utility function is composed of both the benefit accrued from accessing bandwidth and the loss of the currency incurred in bidding for such bandwidth. Extensive simulations show that this market-based method outperforms an omniscient model when demand is uncertain, while minimizing bandwidth consumption.


Bandwidth allocation Trading market Virtual currency Economic models 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hewlett Packard LabsPalo AltoUSA

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