Mobile Computing Middleware

Cecilia Mascolo, Licia Capra and Wolfgang Emmerich

Dept. of Computer Science,
University College London
Dept. of Computer Science
Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT UK

Recent advances in wireless networking technologies and the growing success of mobile computing devices, such as laptop computers, third generation mobile phones, personal digital assistants, watches and the like, are enabling new classes of applications that present challenging problems to designers. Mobile devices face temporary loss of network connectivity when they move; they are likely to have scarce resources, such as low battery power, slow CPU speed and little memory; they are required to react to frequent and unannounced changes in the environment, such as high variability of network bandwidth, and in the remote resources availability, and so on. To support designers building mobile applications, research in the field of middleware systems has proliferated. Middleware aims at facilitating communication and coordination of distributed components, concealing difficulties raised by mobility from application engineers as much as possible. In this survey, we examine characteristics of mobile distributed systems and distinguish them from their fixed counterpart. We introduce a framework and a categorization of the various middleware systems designed to support mobility, and we present a detailed and comparative review of the major results reached in this field. An analysis of current trends inside the mobile middleware community and a discussion of further directions of research conclude the survey.

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Updated on: 08/08/2002
Wolfgang Emmerich