A Mobility Testbed
The Diverse Outdoor Mobile Environment (DOME) was the longest-running large-scale, highly diverse mobile systems testbed. The testbed had been operational since 2004 and provided infrastructure for a wide range of mobile computing research.
Though no longer operational, it included 35 transit buses equipped with computers and a variety of wireless radios, 26 stationary WiFi mesh access points, thousands of organic access points, and half a dozen nomadic relay nodes. It provided support for diverse radio technologies, including WiFi, 900MHz, 3G, and GPRS. It covered an area of 150 square miles and provided spatial diversity; parts of the network formed a sparse, disruption-tolerant network while others are more dense. With proper isolation the testbed could be used for research ranging from infrastructure-based networking to sparse and dense ad hoc networks.
Many environments present stark challenges for deployment of current Internet technology.
- Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes can destroy the power grid, telephone networks, and mobile phone cell towers. Our communications infrastructure is not designed to survive such failure, leaving safety and first responders unable to coordinate.
- Infrastructure outages, like the power outage that occurred on August 14, 2003 in the Northeast, and which are more common with less developed infrastructures, also poise a challenge to a reliable communications infrastructure.
- Developing areas of the world lack always-on Internet connections to remote towns and villages. This is because they lack a robust power infrastructure, dense deployment of cell phone towers, a wired Internet highway backbone, nor a reliable phone network. This maintains the digital divide between Internet-enabled countries and the rest of the world.
- Monitoring of wildlife currently requires scientists to hike into habitats and re-locate tagged animals to record one data point. There are no Internet or other communications technologies in the forest, but our technology allows data of hourly readings of animal behavior to route itself towards the the scientists automatically.
- Underwater monitoring of our bays and oceans, including sensing of plants, sea life, and earthquake fissures requires coverage of a massive area. Very small areas can be monitored now because they require cables out to sea or densely deployed sensing devices. Our technology allows sparse coverage of a broad area of the ocean, allowing data to find its way to buoys and passing ships.