Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Peer-to-peer networking takes internet out of the equation

06.10.2008
When people working on a project get together with their laptops and PDAs, they share information via the internet and a client server. But new software developed by European researchers allows independent, ad hoc, secure networking anywhere.

The power and reach of the internet in today’s world is such that people have, in a short space of time, become over-reliant on it for many tasks both in business and personal life.

If a group of people are gathered together with their laptops in a conference room and are working together on a project, they need to use the web as a communications medium and a central server to store the data they are working on.

If the internet connection is unavailable, congested or even just unaffordable, it has a serious impact on the productivity of the group.

To overcome this, we need to move away from the centralised, rigid client-server paradigm and fixed communications infrastructure. This is just what researchers on the EU-funded POPEYE project have been doing.

Power in unity

The researchers realised that when a group of people gather for a business meeting, be it on the sidelines of a conference, or in airports or hotels, they all carry laptops or PDAs which have vast processing power. They also have the built-in ability to wirelessly network, although this is usually used to connect to the internet.

“We decided you could use the combined computing power of whatever portable devices are present to conduct meetings in a productive manner,” says project coordinator Nicolas Berthet.

Apart from the advantages of being able to collaborate in any environment without the need for the usual fixed infrastructure, using just the portable personal devices of the people present has other advantages.

“Even if you do have access to the internet, that can often be a distraction if a group are gathered together to work on a project. While one person is doing his presentation, or providing his input, others could be checking their email or performing other tasks while waiting their turn, instead of concentrating on the task at hand,” he says. “But using peer-to-peer networking allows everybody to focus,” he says.

Standards don’t matter

The researchers have taken advantage of the technology embedded into today’s portable computing devices by developing new software which is able to cope with different hardware standards. A variety of devices can seamlessly slot into a spontaneously created network.

“It doesn’t matter if there are different brands of Wi-Fi cards or laptops, if they have a small amount of storage space and small screens, or plenty of memory and a big screen, the POPEYE system can bring them all together,” he says.

The software creates a shared repository which everybody in the network can tap into, moving documents and other files to and from their individual hard drives. Because the resources of all the devices are being shared to create the repository, somebody with a small PDA will get exactly the same access to the material as somebody with a powerful laptop.

“Using peer-to-peer in this way means there is no particular node or site where everything is stored for reference,” Berthet says. “You don’t get to download files as such, but to open any file or access any data in the shared space and use it.

There is a common repository that only exists because the community exists, and it ceases to exist when the community ceases to exist.”

No centralised control

Even though there is no centralised control or storage point, people can opt in and out of the network without any adverse effect, as it automatically readapts. This even applies to the person who created the network in the first place or the network manager, if there is one.

How does it work in practical terms? First, you would have to install POPEYE via online download, CD, memory stick, or at the conference itself, via an infrared port or bluetooth.

The researchers have included many of the applications available with standard online collaborative systems in POPEYE, including polling, instant messaging, notice boards, file sharing, screen sharing, collaborative maps and even an anagram game.

Everything is open source, so anybody can develop their own applications to run on POPEYE. According to Berthet, more bandwidth-hungry functions, such as video streaming, may be the subject of future research.

While the initial focus of the project was to allow people to work on collaborative projects using personal IT devices independent of the internet, the applications of POPEYE go beyond business meetings and the need for corporate infrastructural support.

“In a disaster situation, it can take days or weeks to get power and communications restored, and POPEYE could help emergency services and relief workers to share information,” Berthet offers as an example.

“In the EU, where the ultimate aim is a laptop for every child, the potential for small interest groups and neighbourhood groups to network is enormous.”

POPEYE was funded by the ICT theme of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.

Christian Nielsen | alfa
Further information:
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults
http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/BrowsingType/Features/ID/90065

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Smart Manual Workstations Deliver More Flexible Production
04.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>