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Incentive mechanisms for cooperation in time-tolerant networks

  • Nguyen, Thi Thu Hang
Publication Date
Dec 04, 2018
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Delay-Tolerant Networks (DTNs) were designed to provide a sustainable means of communication between mobile terminals in regions without cellular infrastructure. In such networks, the set of neighbors of every node changes over time due to the mobility of nodes, resulting in intermittent connectivity and unstable routes in the network. We analyze the performance of an incentive scheme for two-hop DTNs in which a backlogged source proposes a fixed reward to the relays to deliver a message. Only one message at a time is proposed by the source. For a given message, only the first relay to deliver it gets the reward corresponding to this message thereby inducing a competition between the relays. The relays seek to maximize the expected reward for each message whereas the objective of the source is to satisfy a given constraint on the probability of message delivery. We consider two different settings: one in which the source tells the relays for how long a message is in circulation, and one in which the source does not give this information. In the first setting, we show that the optimal policy of a relay is of threshold type: it accepts a message until a first threshold and then keeps the message until it either meets the destination or reaches the second threshold. Formulas for computing the thresholds as well as probability of message delivery are derived for a backlogged source. We then investigate the asymptotic performance of this setting in the mean field limit. When the second threshold in infinite, we give the mean-field ODE and show that all the messages have the same probability of successful delivery. When the second threshold is finite we only give an ODE approximation since in this case the dynamics are not Markovian. For the second setting, we assume that the source proposes each message for a fixed period of time and that a relay decides to accept a message according to a randomized policy upon encounter with the source. If it accepts the message, a relay keeps it until it reaches the destination. We establish under which condition the acceptance probability of the relays is strictly positive and show that, under this condition, there exists a unique symmetric Nash equilibrium, in which no relay has anything to gain by unilaterally changing its acceptance probability. Explicit expressions for the probability of message delivery and the mean time to deliver a message at the symmetric Nash equilibrium are derived, as well as an expression of the asymptotic value of message delivery. Finally, we present numerous simulations results to compare performances of the threshold-type strategy and the randomized strategy, in order to determine under which condition it is profitable for the source to give the information on the age of a message to the relays.

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