goTenna's VINE Routing Protocol Provides Breakthrough Scalability and Reliability For Ultra-Low-Capacity Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Nov 13, 2019

About goTenna

goTenna is advancing universal access to connectivity by building the world's most intelligent and scalable mobile mesh networks. goTenna is the world's leading mobile mesh networking company, providing off-grid connectivity solutions for smartphones and other devices, as well as augmenting traditional communications networks. This technology enables mobile, long-range connectivity even without cell, wifi or satellite connectivity. goTenna's drive to create resilient connectivity began during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when approximately a third of cell towers and power stations in affected areas failed. Based in Brooklyn, goTenna is backed by investors including Founders Fund, Union Square Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and Bloomberg Beta.

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BROOKLYN, N.Y., Nov. 13, 2019 — Researchers at goTenna, Inc. and the University of Delaware released today a research paper outlining the breakthrough success of the VINE routing protocol, a key component of goTenna's Aspen Grove™ suite of mesh networking protocols. While routing protocols typically exhibit poor scalability in ultra-low-capacity mobile ad hoc networks due to their use of control packets, VINE provides a novel zero-control-packet solution that significantly outperforms  traditional methods, delivering up to 2.5 times the number of packets in some cases.

VINE is particularly useful for unicast (1-to-1) communications in contexts characterized by low bit-rates, including narrowband tactical communications, off-grid disaster relief, and long-range outdoor Internet-of-Things. Since the protocol has already been implemented on the goTenna Pro mesh networking device for the military and public safety markets, VINE provides Pro users with unprecedented reliability, keeping them connected in areas where cell, WiFi, and satellite systems are unavailable. In eliminating the need for control packets, which hackers can exploit and manipulate, VINE also dramatically increases the security of such communications.

"VINE signals a key innovation for ultra-low-capacity networks," said Ram Ramanathan, Chief Scientist at goTenna. "By providing a zero-control-packet routing protocol, VINE makes it possible to scale to higher network sizes, hops, and traffic rates, and increases security."

Via per-hop implicit acknowledgements and end-to-end acknowledgements, VINE provides unmatched data reliability within these networks. For example, VINE significantly outperforms AODV on large low-capacity (25 Kbps) networks, with a consistent packet delivery ratio of 98% compared to AODV's 40%. Even over high-capacity (1 Mbps) networks, VINE still provides 10% better packet delivery ratio, and incurs lower routing overhead. The total communication load, a rough measure of battery energy consumption, is also significantly lower for VINE.

Ramanathan will share the details of these findings at military communications conference MILCOM 2019 in Norfolk, VA. The full research paper will be downloadable here, and at IEEE Xplore in the coming weeks.

The announcement of VINE's success builds off of the release of recent research which demonstrates that goTenna's Aspen Grove™ mesh networking protocols significantly surpass industry standards by enhancing device battery life and data packet delivery. It also complements goTenna's ECHO protocol, a zero-control-packet solution for network-wide broadcasting in mesh networks, which was presented at MILCOM 2018.

In addition to Ramanathan, the VINE research team includes Ayush Dusia and Adarshpal S. Sethi of the University of Delaware's Computer and Information Sciences program, along with Christophe Servaes and Warren Ramanathan of goTenna's Engineering department.