A Smartphone-Based Network Architecture for Post-Disaster Operations using WiFi Tethering


Electronic communication is crucial for monitoring the rescue-relief operations and providing assistance to the affected people during and after disasters. Given the ubiquity of smartphones, we envision that smartphones with lost connection (due to damage) to the communications infrastructure are nevertheless integrated seamlessly into the network as far as possible. To achieve this, we propose to build ad hoc subnetworks of disconnected smartphones using theWiFi tethering technology and ultimately connect them to either the emergency communication equipment deployed in the disaster area or to other smartphones that have still the network connectivity. The proposed architecture for such integration and a defined software-based control through the emergency control center (ECC) enables battery aware collection of critical data through smartphone sensors. The developed solution supports mobility of all smartphones, including those that have lost direct cellular connectivity as well as those that have not and are willing to act as gateways. We demonstrate how the proposed scheme can be tied to the standardized wireless emergency alert service and how it can effectively handle mobility tolerant device discovery and data transfer.


Computer Science

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Second Research Center/Lab

Intelligent Systems Center

Keywords and Phrases

ad-hoc network; Disaster communications; grid-based quorum; WiFi tethering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1533-5399; 1557-6051

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2020 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2020