NeL Lab brings the ATLAS project to successful completion

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The end of March marked the successful completion of the ATLAS project, implemented by the Telecommunication Networks Laboratory (NeL).

ATLAS (UxV-based opportunistic networks facilitating connectivity in remote areas) explored the use of opportunistic networks of mobile nodes, carried on top of unmanned vehicles (UxVs), for providing delay-tolerant network connectivity to remote areas without conventional network infrastructure.
The project received a competitive grant in the context of the 2nd Open Call of RAWFIE (Road-, Air- and Water-based Future Internet Experimentation, www.rawfie.eu), a Horizon 2020 project under the Future Internet Research Experimentation (FIRE+) initiative that aimed at providing research experimentation facilities related to the domain of unmanned networked devices. Towards this goal, RAWFIE integrated numerous testbeds of unmanned vehicles for research experimentation in vehicular, aerial and maritime environments and provided facilities enabling testbed federation and experiments management.

ATLAS enhanced RAWFIE's infrastructure by equipping the UxV devices therein with up to date opportunistic networking capabilities, implemented on top of Raspberry Pi devices attached to the UxVs. In the ATLAS solution, information packets are opportunistically forwarded to the next-hop node towards the destination according to the MAD routing protocol. This protocol makes forwarding decisions by considering context related to the location and motion of candidate mobile nodes in the immediate neighborhood of the packet bearing node. Despite being a "lightweight"' protocol, without any central coordination and control, MAD can self-adapt to diverse environments and perform optimally in a very wide range of network density and mobility conditions. MAD is a product of NeL's research activities and its properties and performance have been documented through a series of NeL's publications in recent years.

The ATLAS-enhanced RAWFIE infrastructure was engaged in a series of successful experiments realized in the HMOD testing site at the Skaramagkas naval base. The experiments investigated the impact of practical considerations to the theoretically predicted performance of MAD and confirmed the potential of the protocol for self-adjustability in a range of real-world networking conditions, of varying nodal density and mobility, ultimately establishing the overall effectiveness of the ATLAS opportunistic connectivity solution.

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