The Network Reconnaissance (NetRecon) Lab is directed by Professor Corey E. Baker. The NetRecon Lab conducts research in the area of cyber physical systems specializing in opportunistic wireless communication for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, smart homes, and mobile health environments. Our research is situated in the evaluation and real-world application of delay tolerant networks (DTNs), mobile ad-hoc networks (MANETs), and software defined networks (SDNs) to empower device-to-device (D2D) social networks for crowd sourcing information. Leveraging DTN’s provides complementary solutions to traditional networks which are typically dependent upon centralized infrastructures such as the Internet. The goal of our research is to make data accessible in the midst of intermittent and poor connectivity while minimizing delay.



Ongoing Projects


Low Cost Smart Cities

Rapid urbanization burdens city infrastructure and creates the need for local governments to maximize the usage of resources to serve its citizens. Smart city projects aim to alleviate the urbanization problem by deploying a vast amount of Internet-of-things (IoT) devices to monitor and manage environmental conditions and infrastructure. However, smart city projects can be extremely expensive to deploy and manage. A significant portion of the expense is a result of providing Internet connectivity via 5G or WiFi to IoT devices. We propose the use of delay tolerant networks (DTNs) as a backbone in combination with edge computing for smart city communication; enabling developing communities to become smart cities at a fraction of the cost. In collaboration with the City of Louisville, KY, we investigate models to aid policy makers in designing and evaluating the expected performance of such networks. To demonstrate the utility of DTNs we develop a distributed privacy-conscious people counter over existing city infrastructure.

Intellectual Merit

Research in delay tolerant networks (DTNs) and opportunistic communication has been conducted for almost for almost 20 years, yet real-world evaluations and deployments are inadequate or limited to simulation environments. Simulations tend to lead to unexpected real-world performance due to the complexity of characterizing node discovery, mobility, message delivery, and power consumption. This project enables real-world smart city deploy- ments and will assist policy makers will making strategic financial communication decisions based on quality of service (QoS) requirements of smart city data instead of depending on cellular infrastructure that may be underutilized.

Broader Impacts

The research and technology developed in this proposal enables developing communities, rural areas, and developed cities to become smart cities at a reduced cost. Because of the proposed situations, it is a valuable tool in scenarios where government budgets are limited, centralized communications have been temporarily disabled or congested (such as in bad weather events and natural disasters). The potential impact of the proposed innovations can provide important connectivity to citizens, hospitals, and safety personnel in rural areas where infrastructure is limited and to low-income users who would benefit from smart city applications, but cannot afford the costs of standard Internet service. In addition, widespread adoption of low-cost smart cities could relieve congestion on overburdened networks in heavily populated areas without the need to build expensive new infrastructure, allowing municipal leaders to maximize smart city potential without incurring excessive costs.

NSF Abstract

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things

Advancements in technology along with the affordability and accessibility of sensors to residents has spurred interest in IoT — particularly pertaining to Smart Homes. Sensing in a home environment provides the convenience of automating home appliances and accessories to respond to its owners, collocation, and time-of-day, which can lead to improved living conditions, optimal power consumption, and the detection of anomalies in behavior such as home intrusion or unexpected health emergency. Leveraging opportunistic wireless communication in Smart Home scenarios also provides a low-cost solution to elderly health-care which enables patient vitals to be monitored by family members and medical officials. We investigate how opportunistic wireless communication can enable Smart Homes to flourish off the grid allowing residents to monitor, control, and protect their smart homes in the midst of Internet connectivity and cloud dependence.


Pragmatic Applications of Delay Tolerant Networks

Evaluating in simulation provides the convenience of expediting time and node interactions, but often leads to misleading real-word performance due to the intricacies of capturing important attributes such as radio broadcasting capabilities, transmission range, buffer size, restraints on power consumption, CPU availability, and operating system restrictions. This led to the creation of the AlleyOop Social Research Platform, a secure delay tolerant social network for Apple iOS devices that leverages a patented middleware and allows users to interact, publish messages, and discover others that share common interests without requiring cellular or WiFi infrastructure mode. Instead, AlleyOop Social relies on D2D connections using either Bluetooth or peer-to-peer WiFi over various DTN routing protocols to deliver messages in an intermittent social network. AlleyOop Social is an attractive evaluation tool for the DTN community due to the modularity of its underlying framework which abstracts away security, privacy, and connectivity to allow researchers to focus on the design of DTN routing protocols that facilitate message dissemination.

Reference Paper

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