Existing mobile devices have the capability to use multiple network technologies simultaneously to help increase performance; but they rarely, if at all, effectively use these technologies in parallel. We first present empirical data to help understand the mobile environment when three heterogeneous networks are available to the mobile device (i.e., a WiFi network, WiMax network, and an Iridium satellite network). We then propose a reliable, multi-path protocol called Multi-Path TCP with Network Coding (MPTCP/NC) that utilizes each of these networks in parallel. An analytical model is developed and a mean-field approximation is derived that gives an estimate of the protocol's achievable throughput. Finally, a comparison between MPTCP and MPTCP/NC is presented using both the empirical data and mean-field approximation. Our results show that network coding can provide users in mobile environments a higher quality of service by enabling the use of multiple network technologies and the capability to overcome packet losses due to lossy, wireless network connections.
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