—The recent popularization of hand-held mobile de- vices, such as smartphones, enables the inter-connectivity among mobile users without the support of Internet infrastructure. When mobile users move and contact each other opportunistically, they form a Delay Tolerant Network (DTN), which can be exploited to share data among them. Data replication is one of the common techniques for such data sharing. However, the unstable network topology and limited contact duration in DTNs make it difficult to directly apply traditional data replication schemes. Although there are a few existing studies on data replication in DTNs, they generally ignore the contact duration limits. In this paper, we recognize the deficiency of existing data replication schemes which treat the complete data item as the replication unit, and propose to replicate data at the packet level. We analytically formulate the contact duration aware data replication problem and give a centralized solution to better utilize the limited storage buffers and the contact opportunities. We further propose a practical contact Duration Aware Replication Algorithm (DARA) which operates in a fully distributed manner and reduces the computational complexity. Extensive simulations on both synthetic and realistic traces show that our distributed scheme achieves close-to-optimal performance, and outperforms other existing replication schemes.
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