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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Tilman Wolf

Second Advisor

Michael Zink

Third Advisor

Jay Taneja

Fourth Advisor

Anna Nagurney

Subject Categories

Digital Communications and Networking


The Internet evolved in many aspects, from the application to the physical layers. However, the evolution of the Internet access technologies, most visible in dense urban scenarios, is not easily noticeable in sparsely populated and rural areas. In the United States, for example, the FCC identified that 50% of the census blocks have access to up to two broadband providers; however, these providers do not necessarily compete. Additionally, due to the methodology of the study, there is evidence that the number of actual customers without broadband access is higher since the FCC considers the entire block to have broadband if any customer in a block has broadband. Moreover, the average downstream connection bandwidth in the United States is 18.7 Mbps, according to the Akamai State of the Internet report, which places the US in the 10th position in the global rank. It’s worth noting that modern applications such as Ultra High Definition (UHD) video streaming requires a bandwidth of at least 25 Mbps. Newer applications such as virtual reality streaming require at least a 50 Mbps bandwidth. Additionally, urban scenarios are dominated by monopolistic and duopolistic markets, whereby network providers have little incentives to offer innovative services. In this work, we propose an open access network infrastructure along with a novel Internet architecture that allows dynamic economic relationships between users and providers through a marketplace of network services. These economic relationships have a finer granularity than today’s coarse and lengthy contracts, allowing higher competition and promoting innovation in the access market. We develop an agent-based simulator to evaluate our proposed network model and its various competition scenarios. Our simulations show that competition greatly benefits users and applications, creating the necessary incentives for providers to innovate while also benefiting consumers. The trend that resulted in sparsely populated areas lagging of the latest innovations in the access networks is also observed in wireless access networks, where the investments are focused on densely populated areas. Moreover, the rapidly increasing number of mobile devices coupled with the increasingly bandwidth demanding applications are posing a significant challenge to cellular network operators that have to increase OPEX/CAPEX and deal with higher complexity in their networks. The advances in the access technologies that brought higher speeds and lower latency also reduced the area of coverage of cellular base stations. To cope with the increase in traffic, cellular network operators have been deploying more base stations. In addition, cellular providers have adopted “all-you-can-use” price models, which led users to ramp-up their usage, further worsening congestion in the network. To address this issue, we propose a scheme that uses Device-to-Device (D2D) communication along with Information-Centric Networking (ICN) to offload traffic from cellular base stations. Then, we build on this scheme and propose a cross-layer assisted forwarding strategy to enhance communication in the MANET. In D2D communication, users can retrieve content directly from their nearby peers. However, this type of communication poses challenges to the current connection-oriented communication model, as devices can move in and out of the communication range at any time, constantly changing routing state, and nodes are subject to hidden and exposed terminal problems. ICN addresses some of these issues with inherent support for transparent caching and named content retrieval, making the network more resilient to disconnections. Our proposed scheme can offload up to 51.7% of the contents from the backhaul cellular infrastructure when requesting the content from nearby peers first. Finally, we combine the concepts of the marketplace, D2D communication, and ICN to propose a platform for decentralized and opportunistic communication that uses COTS radios to relay packets, extending the reach of the Internet to sparsely populated areas with low cost and without the lengthy contracts from commercial network providers. Our platform can potentially link the remaining part of the population that is not currently connected to the Internet.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.