Wireless “DUMBO” turns ordinary laptops, PDAs into live-saving network

Wireless 'DUMBO' turns ordinary laptops, PDAs into live-saving network

Public demonstration takes place 1 December

The Asian Institute of Technology is hosting a public demonstration of a new mobile wireless network for use on an ad hoc basis, such as after a natural disaster when a fixed network infrastructure is not available or had been destroyed. The demonstration takes place at Interlab on AIT's Pathumthani campus at 2 p.m. 1 December 2006.

Known as Project DUMBO, it stands for Digital Ubiquitous Mobile Broadband OLSR. (OSLR is a networking term meaning Optimized Link State Routing.) For demonstration purposes, the 1 December event will feature live satellite broadcast of research activities from the DUMBO networks at two elephant camps in Phuket, Thailand.

A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) consists of mobile nodes that cooperate to support the exchange of information among the nodes through the wireless medium. Since they do not rely on fixed telecommunication infrastructure, MANETs are suitable for emer-gency situations and can be set up within relatively short time and with little effort. With mobile nodes, the network can be stretched out or extended to penetrate deeper into areas not easily accessible by roads.

In this demonstration, a computer user riding on a moving elephant serves as a mobile node relaying traffic to other mobile nodes on other elephants in the disaster areas. Communications between mobile ad hoc networks in different disaster sites can be established using wireless satellite connections, which in turn are connected the normal Internet.

In this emergency network, the mobile nodes can communicate directly among themselves using voice over IP (VoIP) and SMS messages. Streaming video can be sent from each node to the central coordination unit, which can then broadcast to all nodes in the network. The central unit can be located either in the disaster areas or anywhere in the Internet. In addition, sensors will be deployed to measure environmental data such as temperature. Data from sensors will be sent to the central unit and then broadcast to all the nodes.

The idea of project DUMBO is to turn ordinary computers, such as laptops and PDAs, to network devices without having to acquire special hardware. Hence any guest computer, with simple software installation and configuration, can join in and be a part of the DUMBO network. Experiences and experimental results obtained from this project will provide feedbacks for further enhancement of related network and application protocols for emergency situations.

Project DUMBO is a collaboration among three main research groups: the Interlab at the Asian Institute of Technology, INRIA (France), and the WIDE Project (Japan). Other technical partners include Telecoms Sans Frontieres (France), LiveE Project (Japan), and I2R (Singapore). The project is co-sponsored by STIC_ASIE Project, INRIA, Regional French Cooperation (France), Asia Broadband (Japan), the Ministry of ICT, Shin Satel-lite, and APAN-TH (Thailand).

For more information regarding the project, please contact