Proposal Summary

This is a proposal to design and build a secure infrastructureless network, AllNet, leveraging the wireless hardware present in many of today's mobile devices. Individuals will be motivated to participate in this network by a variety of inducements, both selfish and altruistic, which this proposal intends to design and study.

If widely adopted, AllNet will provide limited communications in settings where the infrastructure is not available, including for emergencies.

There exist many proposals for ubiquitous networks, and much study of what motivates people to participate in a network. Some of the features that distinguish this proposal are:

Statement of Objectives and Methods to be employed: the objective is the design of a network which is sufficiently useful that individuals will employ it on a daily basis, and also when no other form of communication is available. This includes secure communication among individuals and groups. The methods include network design, security design and analysis, design and analysis of motivation to provide a service to peers, and implementation of software to support the protocols at the data-link layer, network layer, and at the application layer.

Intellectual Merit: AllNet will provide secure pseudonymous communication using principles from cryptography and peer-to-peer systems. Communication can be directed to an individual, identified by a public key or a random ID, or anyone within a limited geographic area, to a small group of individuals, to larger groups, or to other kinds of addresses. AllNet limits problems with jamming, including spam, by prioritizing messages sent to a smaller number of recipients or to a smaller area. When some of the AllNet nodes are connected to the Internet infrastructure, they will provide limited Internet access to other AllNet nodes which lack such connection. To effectively use such limited access, AllNet includes a design of delay-tolerant protocols to access web, email, and chat.

Broader Impacts: AllNet provides interpersonal communications and access to the broader Internet whenever the infrastructure fails to do so. Being voluntary, free, and independent of providers, it provides communications in a variety of settings, most importantly, in case of emergencies. AllNet also provides a backup in case the Internet fails or is turned off for any reason, or Internet or cell service is not available, as in the wilderness. In addition, performing this research will help train the next generation of researchers.