The MOPED Project

As a user acquires multiple personal technology and communication devices, the efficiency of these devices is limited by their isolation from each other. When the resources of a device are completely consumed (e.g., a dead mobile phone battery), the user is completely cut off from key services. Similarly, if a user leaves the coverage area of a device, the services currently available via that device are no longer accessible. As a user moves through different environments, the cooperation of devices brings the potential for increased bandwidth and better connectivity by exposing to all devices the aggregation of services available to individual devices. Current technology and communication support provide connectivity between devices, but do not enable cooperation between devices. The goal of our research is to bridge this gap from communication to cooperation.

Our project presents a networking model that treats a user's set of personal devices as a MOPED, an autonomous set of MObile grouPEd Devices, which appears as a single entity to the rest of the Internet. All communication traffic for a MOPED user is delivered to the MOPED, where the final disposition of traffic is determined. Since a MOPED is designed to support a single user, communication with any of the devices in the MOPED is equivalent to communication with the user. This model enables the mapping of a group of devices into a point of presence on the Internet for a user. To the outside world, this MOPED appears as a single device with a single interface or identifier. In reality, the group of devices cooperates to provide better services to the user. 

The goal of the MOPED project is to provide service to a user through the cooperation of the MOPED devices that is better than the service provided by the devices working individually. Our solution provides four key benefits. First, a user can be connected via any of the services currently available to the individual devices. Second, if multiple devices have connectivity in a certain environment, the MOPED can take advantage of the additional bandwidth by routing different flows through different connections. Third, devices with no external connectivity can share the resources of other devices with external connectivity in their component. Finally, such connectivity enables smooth handoffs as individual devices gain and lose connectivity, allowing external connectivity to all devices as long as at least one device in the component has external connectivity. 

In addition to improved service, the design of the MOPED architecture provides three additional benefits that ease the integration and deployment of MOPEDs. First, our design supports the commonly accepted idea that non-mobile users should not have to be aware of the extra infrastructure needed to support mobile users. Our architecture supports communication with non-mobile-aware users as well as optimizations for mobile-aware users. This abstraction also provides the benefit of hiding the topology of the MOPED from external hosts, providing flexibility and anonymity. Second, any new device acquired by a user can be integrated into the MOPED as long as it can become part of the PAN connecting the MOPED. This covers the easy inclusion of new technology as well as legacy devices. The level of cooperation of the individual devices in the MOPED depends on whether or not the device is MOPED-enabled. Finally, the sharing of communication resources across devices allows each device to be specialized to its specific purpose -- A smart watch need not also be a phone. 

The results of our research will enable simultaneous connections through all available communication channels. This creates a very robust environment, where it becomes easier to guarantee complete communication coverage. It allows using MOPEDs for critical tasks such as patient monitoring where it is important to maintain connectivity at all time, through there may be some flexibility in the amount of data that is transferred as well as the importance of that data. If the communication patterns of such a MOPED are not well monitored, certain devices may unacceptably lose power due to inefficient connection management. 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0081308 Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation