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                                                                   Networking for Communications Challenged Communities:

                                                                   Architecture, Test Beds and Innovative Alliances

N4C is an acronym for Networking for Communications Challenged Communities.

IMG_9517-2.jpgThe project resulted from a proposal by a consortium of 12 partners to the EU SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME THEME [ICT-2-1.6] in the New paradigms and experimental facilities Small or medium-scale focused research project STREP - CP-FP-INFSO category. The project was designed to last for three years and featured a sequence of six sets of experimental trials (winter and summer) in two test bed areas. The project started in May 2008 and ended in April 2011.

The project is part of the FIRE (Future Internet Research and Experimentation) Initiative which encourages research by experimentation.


07-18-2010-032002.jpgN4C Newsletters

Summaries from N4C Annual reports:

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

N4C Final report

Formal Project specification, General Information and Useful Links

N4C non-scientific summary

In N4C we were developing Internet for the remote regions where it is not simple, or not cheap or, even, not feasible to have it in any of the conventional ways that town dwellers have come to expect.

N4C is a research project that has successfully developed solutions for basic Internet access in such regions. The solutions are based on the novel approach of DTN – Delay– and Disruption– Tolerant Networking. DTN makes the exchange of data between the source and destination tolerant of time delays; if there isn't a continuous path from source to destination when the data is sent the data can be held at some intermediate node (which might be any computer or server) on the path until there is a good path available and, only then, after some time “travel” forward towards the destination. Most importantly, and unlike the conventional Internet, a DTN 'network' does not expect its connections to be fixed in time. Instead it can cope with mobile nodes that have ever changing connections to other nodes. People, cars, helicopters and similar moving “data mules” that travel in the remote area actually take the data with them and deliver it to the next node in the network 'cloud'. Movable data mules together with nodes at permanent locations form the DTN cloud. The connections between nodes are 'opportunistic': nodes communicate when they meet up; data is exchanged if it appears that this will bring the data closer to delivery to its intended destination.

This is obviously a rather different type of Internet than we are used to in urban areas. Therefore we had to develop and adapt software and hardware solutions to match the new needs. This development covered the whole spectrum from theory to applications and most importantly we have been experimenting with our developments in the field using “test beds” with real users. Our test beds were facilities in remote regions that were likely venues for “future DTN for remote regions” on a small scale, but operating under real conditions in scenarios that approximate ordinary life in such areas.

Our work was divided into several work packages (Wps). We hope the outline descriptions here will encourage you to browse through our extensive scientific and technical deliverables for further information:

WP1 – coordination and management of the project – how we have been working together

WP2 – architecture – the theoretical basis for our developments of DTN

WP3 – applications – development of useful software applications that work on the top of the DTN infrastructure and provide basic Internet access to users

WP4 – software implementation of the DTN infrastructure (the network itself)

WP5 – developing autonomous, low energy hardware platforms for the DTN cloud – adapted computers of several kinds (including PCs, netbooks, Wi-Fi access points, very low power single board computers and smart phones) that are used as mobile or fixed nodes

WP6 – development of DTN infrastructure by radio connections over long distances and applications for animal tracking using DTN

WP7 – integration of hardware, DTN software infrastructure and applications using an emulated cloud

WP8 – testing and experimenting with the overall solutions in Swedish and Slovenian test beds

WP9 – describing to the scientific community and layman what we have been doing

At the project end we are proud that our initial ideas were developed to mature solutions that were proven to be successful in real life test beds tests.

See the description of the test beds for more extensive presentation of our “small scale” DTN cloud.

The N4C Technical Advisory Board

The N4C project consortium was fortunate to have the support of a distinguished group of advisors as support for the project. The members were engaged through informal channels such as e-mail lists and other every-day forms of communication and when possible members were present in N4C consortium meetings: Anders Lindgren in the project start-up in May 2008, Avri Doria, Kevin Fall and Jacqueline A. Morris in .the Technical kick-off meeting in Grosuplje in September 2008, Kevin Fall in the mid term meeting in Dublin, September 2009 and Michael Gurstein in the final strategy meeting in Poznan in October 2010, while Vint Cerf, Avri Doria and Patrik Fältström contributed with keynotes in the N4C Final Conference 'Future Internet Learning from Experience'.

Avri Doria, the Chair of this group was engaged as Adjunct Professor and supervisor at LTU throughout the project and played a vital part in the project design and execution.

Anders Lindgren formerly worked at LTU, during his time as PhD student. During this time, the first PRoPHET draft was developed. During the N4C project, Anders organized the co-location of the first Extreme Com workshop with the N4C summer tests in Swedish Lapland 2009.http://www.extremecom.org/2009

In the world of Internet the support of Vint Cerf obviously has a particular meaning. The consortium members are more than grateful for the support of Vint, Kevin, Avri, Patrik, Anita, Jacqueline, Anders and Michael.

Kevin-2.gifN4C Technical Advisory Board (TAB)


Ms Avri Doria (Chair)

Independent consultant, USA

​Dr Vinton G. Cerf

Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, USA

Mr Patrik Fältström

Senior Consulting Engineer, Cisco, Sweden

Dr Kevin Fall

Principal Engineer, Intel Corporation, USA

Dr. Anders Lindgren Jacqueline.gif

Senior Researcher, Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Sweden

Dr. Jacqueline A. Morris

Instructor II, University of Trinidad and Tobago

Ms Anita Gurumurthy

Founding member and executive director of IT for Change, India

Dr Michael Gurstein

Editor in Chief of The Journal of Community Informatics, Canada