We introduce a new paradigm and a new technology, which we call opportunistic networks or oppnets. An oppnet grows from its seedthe original set of nodes employed together at the time of the initial oppnet deployment. The seed grows into a larger network by extending invitations to join the oppnet to foreign devices, node clusters, or networks that it is able to contact. A new node that becomes a full-fledged member, or helper, may be allowed to invite external nodes. All helpers collaborate on realizing the goals of the oppnet. They can be employed to execute different kinds of tasks, even though in general they were not designed to become elements of the oppnet that invited them. Oppnets, as an epitome of pervasive computing, are subject to significant privacy and security challenges, inherent to all pervasive systems. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to define and investigate opportunistic networks.
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