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The Junction Protocol for Ad Hoc Peer-to-Peer Mobile Applications

By Ben Dodson, Aemon Cannon, Te-yuan Huang and Monica S. Lam


Junction is an application-level communication protocol and library designed for writing mobile applications for ad hoc groups without centralized application servers. We propose that applications be built using a generic switchboard service for communication. Each dynamic instance can designate a unique switchboard, hosted by a peer or by a third-party, for the session. Our convention of naming a session by a Junction URI, which encodes the location of the switchboard, enables a simple click-and-run user experience. The Junction abstraction allows developers a choice of switchboard implementations: XMPP for scalability, IRC for free availability, Pocket Switchboard for mobility, and OpenFlow, a software-defined network, for performance. Invitations to sessions can be carried over NFC, Bluetooth, or QR codes. Junction is available as open source for Android, iPhone and Javascript platforms. Over ten applications in multimedia sharing, games, communication, education, and for enhancing security for online transactions have been developed in Junction. identify and eliminate these obstacles to improve adoptability. As billions of smart phones come online, the demand for multi-party interactions will rival the number of phone calls we see today. The relatively few multi-party mobile applications available today are typically implemented with an application server in the cloud mediating all interactions. We postulate that having all the application-specific code run locally on endpoints can greatly reduce the barrier-to-entry and support large numbers of interactions. ISVs (independent software vendors) do not need to (1) write application server code nor (2) deploy scalable servers. Eliminating centralized application servers that can monitor all transactions has an added benefit of improved user privacy. To facilitate communication between mobile devices, which are often not mutually addressable, each instance of a multi-party application uses a thin message routing service, known as a switchboard. This communication service is application-agnostic and can be provided by existing generic messaging solutions

Year: 2013
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