The University of Auckland

Project #121: Communication through unreliable mesh networks

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Description:

This project concerns the design of telecommunications systems.

In mesh networks, messages are passed from one node to another so that they eventually reach their intended destination. Often there are a number of different pathways available to convey a message from its source to its destination. Some pathways might be shorter and faster than others, some might require less energy and some might be more reliable. Choosing the best path is an engineering challenge.

In unreliable mesh networks some of the nodes through which messages pass are unreliable. They may corrupt or lose the information being sent. Successful transmission of messages through the mesh may require that these unreliable nodes are avoided – or at least identified. It is desirable to establish the reliability of each node in some quantifiable manner. In a sense this requires that the “reputation” of each node be established and monitored. Unreliable nodes might simply be the result of poor (e.g. noisy) communications channels with the nodes around them; but unreliable nodes could potentially be the result of malicious activity. Hence establishing the reputation of each node might not only protect against the use of poor quality channels, it might also be a way of mitigating the effect of deliberate attempts to disrupt communications.

The object of this project is to model and simulate mesh networks containing unreliable nodes. The initial networks can be very simple with just a handful of nodes. The effect of unreliable nodes can be investigated by deliberately introducing them into the mesh. A secondary (and perhaps more challenging) objective of the project is establish ways of identifying unreliable nodes, perhaps using some sort of reputation score. These types of models and techniques may prove to be very useful to the effective utilisation of future data networks that consist of many elements from a variety of providers (e.g. the Internet of Things)

Outcome:

A Matlab (or similar) based software tool for investigating and visualizing communication through a mesh network with unreliable nodes. A technique for estimating the reliability of a node in the network.

Prerequisites

Courses in data/digital communications desirable (but not essential).

Specialisations

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Supervisor

Co-supervisor

Team

Allocated (Not available for preferences)

Lab

Lab allocations have not been finalised