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A Network Emulator to Support the Development of Adaptive Applications

Nigel Davies, Gordon S. Blair, Keith Cheverst and Adrian Friday

Distributed Multimedia Research Group,
Department of Computing,
Lancaster University,
Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4YR, U.K.

telephone: +44 (0)524 65201
e-mail: nigel, gordon, kc,


Mobile applications must operate in environments in which the network connectivity, input/output devices, power and contextual information available to them may all vary. Applications which react to changes in these parameters in order to ensure continuing service to the user are termed adaptive applications and have recently emerged as an area of intense research activity. In this paper we describe the design and implementation of a network emulator which facilitates research in this field by allowing applications to be exposed to user controlled fluctuations in network service. The emulator can be used with any application which uses UDP and requires only minimal changes to the application or, it may be used with applications written using the ANSAware distributed systems platform in which case no changes are necessary to the application. The design and implementation of the emulator are described in this paper as our experiences of using the emulator to model three distinct types of wireless network: GSM, an analogue cellular service and a simple shared radio channel. The source code for the emulator is freely available and instructions on obtaining the code are also included.

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