Mobile peer-to-peer applications in cellular networks

Since the introduction of Napster in 1999, Peer-to-peer applications has generated controversy through providing users with tools for sharing files, which has resulted in a large increase of traffic in fixed networks while raising piracy issues. In recent years, other application areas for legal commercial services based on peer-to-peer technology have started to appear. Advancements in capabilities for mobile phones, combined with significant improvements in mobile networks introduced the opportunity to provide mobile peer-to-peer services.

This thesis explores possible application areas for peer-to-peer in cellular networks and for mobile phones. Through brainstorming and studying existing peer-to-peer applications in fixed and mobile networks, potential application areas are identified. By combining analysis of identified applications combined with interviews of service providers and operators, the study provides an insight to the possible benefits and drawbacks of peer-to-peer in cellular networks.

Data pricing, battery limitations and difficulties of adapting services to the multitude of different available mobile phones are identified as major obstacles for mobile peer-to-peer service deployment. While these challenges are not unique to peer-to-peer architectures, the effects of pricing and battery consumption have an even larger impact on applications built upon peer-to-peer, as they are relying on contribution of resources from its users. Current characteristics of mobile industry, mobile phones and cellular networks do not provide an ideal entry point for peer-to-peer architectures. However, the future is uncertain. If mobile data pricing approaches flat-rate and services are light on mobile terminals, peer-to-peer could offer service providers a way to deploy services quickly with minimal investments in infrastructure. A first step towards mobile peer-to-peer could be to take advantage of peer-to-peer architectures in fixed networks to provide mobile services

Author: Persson, Simon

Source: Lulea University of Technology

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