Project N4C Print

 Seventh Framework

N4C (Seventh research Framework Programme - FP7)
(see brochure for details) 

Networking for Communications Challenged Communities:
Architecture, Test beds and Innovative Alliances


N4C non-scientific summary

In N4C we were developing Internet for the remote regions where it is not simple, or not cheap or, even, not feasible to have it in any of the conventional ways that town dwellers have come to expect.
N4C is a research project that has successfully developed solutions for basic Internet access in such regions. The solutions are based on the novel approach of DTN – Delay– and Disruption– Tolerant Networking. DTN makes the exchange of data between the source and destination tolerant of time delays; if there isn't a continuous path from source to destination when the data is sent the data can be held at some intermediate node (which might be any computer or server) on the path until there is a good path available and, only then,  after some time “travel” forward towards the destination.  Most importantly, and unlike the conventional Internet,  a DTN 'network' does not expect its connections to be fixed in time.  Instead it can cope with mobile nodes that have ever changing connections to other nodes. People, cars, helicopters and similar moving “data mules” that travel in the remote area actually take the data with them and deliver it to the next node in the network 'cloud'. Movable data mules together with nodes at permanent locations form the DTN cloud.  The connections between nodes are 'opportunistic': nodes communicate when they meet up; data is exchanged if it appears that this will bring the data closer to delivery to its intended destination.
This is obviously a rather different type of Internet than we are used to in urban areas. Therefore we had to develop and adapt software and hardware solutions to match the new needs. This development covered  the whole spectrum from theory to applications and most importantly we have been experimenting with our developments in the fieldusing “test beds” with real users. Our test beds were facilities in remote regions that were likely venues for “future DTN for remote regions” on a small scale, but operating under real conditions in scenarios that approximate ordinary life in such areas.
Our work was divided into several work packages (Wps). We hope the outline descriptions here will encourage you to browse through our extensive scientific and technical deliverables for further information:
WP1 – coordination and management of the project – how we have been working together
WP2 – architecture – the theoretical basis for our developments of DTN
WP3 – applications – development of useful software applications that work on the top of the DTN infrastructure and provide basic Internet access to users
WP4 – software implementation of the DTN infrastructure (the network itself)
WP5 – developing autonomous, low energy hardware platforms for the DTN cloud – adapted computers of several kinds (including PCs, netbooks, Wi-Fi access points, very low power single board computers and smart phones) that are used as mobile or fixed nodes
WP6 – development of DTN infrastructure by radio connections over long distances and applications for animal tracking using DTN
WP7 – integration of hardware, DTN software infrastructure and applications using an emulated cloud
WP8 – testing and experimenting with the overall solutions in Swedish and Slovenian test beds
WP9 – describing to the scientific community and layman what we have been doing
At the project end we are proud that our initial ideas were developed to mature solutions that were proven to be successful in real life test beds tests.
See the description of the test beds for more extensive presentation of our “small scale” DTN cloud.


Other project details:

Grant Agreement: 223994
Coordinator: Maria Udén, Luleå tekniska universitet (LTU), Sweden

Company MEIS is leader of WP8 (Work Package No.8):
Test and validation in two remote test beds

Company MEIS is involved in other work packages.

In Septembra 2008 MEIS and LTU organized  technical start up meeting . Read about details (in Slovene) .



  1. Luleå tekniska universitet, Sweden (coordinator)
  2. Albentia Systems, S.A., Spain
  3. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
  4. INTEL Performance Learning Solutions Ltd., Ireland
  5. Trinity College Dublin,Ireland
  6. Norut IT AS, Norway
  7. ITTI Ltd., Poland
  8. Instituto Pedro Nunes, Portugal
  9. MEIS storitve za okolje d.o.o., Slovenia
  10. Tannak AB, Sweden
  11. Power Lake AB, Sweden
  12. Folly Consulting Ltd., UK