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Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 372572, 16 pages
Review Article

Changing Trends in Modeling Mobility

1Department of EECS, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401, USA
2Institute of Computer Science, University of Osnabrück, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany

Received 4 May 2012; Accepted 5 October 2012

Academic Editor: George Tombras

Copyright © 2012 Aarti Munjal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A phenomenal increase in the number of wireless devices has led to the evolution of several interesting and challenging research problems in opportunistic networks. For example, the random waypoint mobility model, an early, popular effort to model mobility, involves generating random movement patterns. Previous research efforts, however, validate that movement patterns are not random; instead, human mobility is predictable to some extent. Since the performance of a routing protocol in an opportunistic network is greatly improved if the movement patterns of mobile users can be somewhat predicted in advance, several research attempts have been made to understand human mobility. The solutions developed use our understanding of movement patterns to predict the future contact probability for mobile nodes. In this work, we summarize the changing trends in modeling human mobility as random movements to the current research efforts that model human walks in a more predictable manner. Mobility patterns significantly affect the performance of a routing protocol. Thus, the changing trend in modeling mobility has led to several changes in developing routing protocols for opportunistic networks. For example, the simplest opportunistic routing protocol forwards a received packet to a randomly selected neighbor. With predictable mobility, however, routing protocols can use the expected contact information between a pair of mobile nodes in making forwarding decisions. In this work, we also describe the previous and current research efforts in developing routing protocols for opportunistic networks.