September 12 – 15, 2010, Dagstuhl Seminar 10372

User-Centric Networking


Jon Crowcroft (University of Cambridge, GB)
James Kempf (Ericsson – San Jose, US)
Paulo Jorge Mendes (University Lusófona – Lisboa, PT)
Rute Sofia (University Lusófona – Lisboa, PT)

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In the latest years the highly nomadic lifestyles that Internet users experience, and the strong entanglement between society and technology, lead to the appearance of community networks where the end-user has, most of the times, an active role in terms of sharing Internet access. Such networks range from basic functionality, such as the ability to create a wireless (ad-hoc) network on-the-fly with a simple PC (e.g., Internet Connection Sharing functionality from Microsoft), or more elaborate cases of commercial success, e.g. FON. Wireless networks provided by end-users are expected to grow, despite the limitations imposed by traditional operator-centric Internet communication models. In this new scenario the end-user (or a community of end-users) is a micro-operator in the sense that he/she shares his/her subscribed broadband Internet access based on some incentive scheme. Besides Internet access sharing, being a micro-operator also means providing other network functionality, such as local mobility management and store-cache-forward mechanisms, based on the right set of incentives as well as on adequate information concerning the way people interact and move.

User-provided networks disrupt Internet communication models due to its user-centricity. First, any regular end-user device may behave as a relay of information and consequently becomes part of the network, which has an impact on the Internet architecture: the central building block of the Internet, the end-to-end principle, describes a clear splitting between network and end-user systems. Second, user-provided networks grow spontaneously based on the willingness of users to share subscribed Internet access and to relay data. Such willingness is sustained by trust management and incentive mechanisms that mimic social behavior. Third, between communities of users connectivity is intermittent. User-provided networks have to consider mechanisms that support routing in intermittent connected networks, as well as quick and transparent mobility management between micro-operators. Fourth, people mobility has an impact on connectivity provided by user-provided networks, since human carried devices will also be willing to operate as networking devices. This characteristic means that a realistic modulation of human mobility and social patterns is fundamental for the optimization of user-centric networking technologies. Fifth, most of the devices used by humans will use wireless technologies to communicate, which means that taking advantage of the broadcast nature of the wireless media by means of cooperative networking techniques is of core importance to an efficient deployment of user-centric technologies, in terms of throughput gain and energy saving for instance. The purpose of this seminar is to bring together researchers from core disciplines for the future of user-centric networking: Internet architecture, human behaviour and mobility modeling, as well as wireless and routing optimization.

The presentation and brainstorming sessions allowed all participants to discuss the role of the user-centric networking in several different perspectives such as user-centric requirements (e.g. social behaviour; energy efficiency), mobility management, access aspects, cloud architecture, trust management, network fault detection and repair, cooperative networking, identity management and applications.

Based on the results of the brainstorming session, it was decided that would be interesting to create a User Centric Networking Working Group (UCN-WG) to continue the discussion started in this Dagstuhl seminar. To start wit it was created a mailing list ( and a wiki page. The latter should be used to collect links about relevance information, from presentations to publications, running code, etc.


  • Networks
  • Mobile Computing
  • Optimization/scheduling


  • User-provided wireless networks
  • Cooperative networking
  • Cooperation incentives
  • Internet architectures
  • Social and mobility modeling
  • Information-centric operation.

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