Back to index
The Challenges of Mobile Computing
George H. Forman and John Zahorjan
Surrounding mobile computing are a number of challenges; radio
characteristics are inherently poor, mobility implies address
migration and location dependency, and portability implies limitations
on physical device characteristics.
- Wireless communications: Wireless links are qualitatively
different than wireline links - the bandwidth, latency, variability,
and reliability of wireline links all pale in comparison to wireline
links. Rapid changes in quality imply the need for highly adaptive
applications that can possibly even support disconnected operation,
implying a level of autonomy. Wireless links are less secure.
- Mobility: Address migration (eg. mobile-IP) is required;
common solutions include selective broadcast, centralized name
services, forwarding pointers, and home-base. Because of mobility,
location dependent information can exist - resource discovery, privacy,
and the migration of locality become import issues.
- Portability: Portable computers face physical challenges
(volume, weight, power consumption, cost), pragmatic challenges
(increased chance of data loss, small user-interface issues), and
systems issues (network integration, resource imbalance such as lack of
local storage, impoverished computational power).
This paper attacks mobile computing from a computer science perspective,
focusing on the impact of wireless communications on network properties,
systems properties, and properties visible to the end-user.
- The paper concentrates mostly on the current state-of-affairs;
while it does so accurately, it does not speculate on future issues
to any large degree. (Perhaps this isn't a flaw but a feature.) As
promised by the title of the paper, challenges are presented,
- Data services are overemphasized and voice services largely
ignored. This is, however, consistent with the computer-science
perspective put on the paper.
- There is a peceivable lack of depth in this paper - only very
broad descriptive strokes are painted.
Back to index