Mobile agents — Smart messages
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Wireless communication with Mobile Computing devices is known to be problematic. It is very different in character from conventional communication over wired networks. Since many distributed applications make assumptions about network characteristics, they may not be used in a hostile mobile environment.
We are proposing a new kind of messaging system which incorporates adaptive behaviour into the messages themselves. We call these ‘Smart Messages”, and implement them using Mobile Agents. They are transported between machines via Agent Airports. The metaphor we use is of a message being delivered by a courier (Mobile Agent), through Agent Airports, on a potentially unresolved route. The ‘intelligence’ is in the messages (couriers in our metaphor) themselves rather than in the network.
The approach taken expands on the self-routing capabilities of current Mobile Agent systems such as Aglets or Telescript. We aim to provide structured support for handling the particular problems associated with wireless communications. These include very limited, variable and asymmetric bandwidth, frequent and prolonged disconnections, geographical mobility and high usage costs. We argue that this offers an efficient, adaptable and robust solution to many of the problems associated with this hostile communications environment.
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