System support for client-server based interactive applications in ad hoc networks
With the emergence of wireless communications and mobile computing. new ways for people to interact with each other and their surrounding environment are emerging. Mobile devices, such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) with wireless communication interfaces are able to communicate directly with each other if they are "close enough". If such devices are also able to act as message relays (routers), then a very powerful facility in the form of a mobile ad hoc network can be made available to applications. Although present day PDAs have sufficient networking and processing capabilities to support interesting interactive applications, as yet, there is hardly any software available for constructing and maintaining ad hoc networks and not many practical interactive applications have been built and tested. Rather, much of the research work is still at simulation and modelling stage. Thus it is difficult at this stage to decide what system support (middleware) for interactive applications a PDA should contain. This work is a step in the direction of remedying the situation by considering a class of applications where interactions between users can be supported by one of the nodes in the ad hoc network acting as a server. The thesis presents the design, implementation and evaluation of three such applications on PDAs, and based on that experience, describes what system support (middleware) for such applications is required. These applications are: Auction, Bingo game and Chatting that work over ad hoc networks. The work presented here can be used as a basis for deciding how the current generation of PDA operating systems can be extended for supporting ad hoc networking and what additional services are required for interactive applications.