User-centric Networking: Cooperation in Wireless Networks
This chapter addresses cooperation in wireless networks, based on the recent, self-organizing paradigm of User-centric Networking. In user-centric networking, the Internet user controls and carries networking wireless objects, usually located in customer premises. Some of such objects integrate functionality that is today part of the network core, such as mobility management, or resource management. As such functionality is placed closer to the Internet user, this stakeholder becomes more than a simple consumer of networking services, being a key element in Internet connectivity models, as well as in networking topology. Intrinsic to the notion of user-centric networking is the idea of resource sharing via cooperative elements, based on specific sharing incentives. The network dynamics are affected by such user empowerment in several ways. Devices on the network have limited capabilities such as energy or storage and change location frequently following their human carriers social behavior. These aspects drastically affect the Internet architectural design and introduces the need to revisit networking paradigms so that part of the networking functionality becomes closer and controllable by the Internet end-user, in a way that is beneficial to all Internet stakeholders. The chapter provides notions and models concerning user-centric networking, as well as notions and models directed to user-centricity in the context of wireless network. We also include recent operational data derived from available user-centric networking pilots, as well as a market analysis with a wholesale model analysis example.