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CARE: Content Aware Redundancy Elimination for Disaster Communications on Damaged Networks

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During a disaster scenario, situational awareness information, such as location, physical status and images of the surrounding area, is essential for minimizing loss of life, injury, and property damage. Today's handhelds make it easy for people to gather data from within the disaster area in many formats, including text, images and video. Studies show that the extreme anxiety induced by disasters causes humans to create a substantial amount of repetitive and redundant content. Transporting this content outside the disaster zone can be problematic when the network infrastructure is disrupted by the disaster. This paper presents the design of a novel architecture called CARE (Content-Aware Redundancy Elimination) for better utilizing network resources in disaster-affected regions. Motivated by measurement-driven insights on redundancy patterns found in real-world disaster area photos, we demonstrate that CARE can detect the semantic similarity between photos in the networking layer, thus reducing redundant transfers and improving buffer utilization. Using DTN simulations, we explore the boundaries of the usefulness of deploying CARE on a damaged network, and show that CARE can reduce packet delivery times and drops, and enables 20-40% more unique information to reach the rescue teams outside the disaster area than when CARE is not deployed.


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