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About N4C

eLearning-DTN is a transfer of innovation project transferring from the N4C project to an on-line cours.

N4C Facts and Figures

​Project: Networking for Communications Challenged Communities: Architecture, Test Beds and Innovative Alliances (N4C)

Duration: 1 May 2008–30 April 2011

Funding: FP7-ICT-2007-2 FIRE (Future Internet research in the ICT Programme)

Budget: €40 million

Coordinator: Luleå University of Technology

Work Packages (WP) and responsible WP leader:

Work package and no.

Beneficiary no. and name

Beneficiary short name


WP1. Project Management

P1. Luleå University of Technology



WP2. System Architecture

P12. Folly Consulting Ltd.



WP3. Pervasive Applications

P6. Northern Research Institute Tromsø AS





WP4. R&D pervasive applications

P5. Trinity College Dublin





WP5. R&D specialized hardware for DTN networking

P5. Trinity College Dublin





WP6. Air-interface technologies

P3. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid




WP7. System integration

P8. Instituto Pedro Nunes



WP8. Tests and validation in two remote test beds

P9. MEIS storitve za okolje d.o.o.



WP9. Dissemination

P11. Power Lake AB



N4C also had partners without WP leadership tasks:

P2. Albentia Systems, S.A., (ALBENTIA), Spain

P4. Intel Performance Learning Solutions Ltd., (Intel), Ireland

P7. ITTI Sp. z o.o., (ITTI), Poland

P10. TANNAK AB, (Tannak), Sweden

What N4C has done:

​In N4C the team developed Delay- and Disruption-Tolerant Networking technology (DTN) towards practical usage. Work included:

  • building of test beds in the Kočevje region of Slovenia and in Swedish Lapland;
  • real-life tests in test beds embedded in end-users everyday lives at these sites;
  • test of WiMAX and the combination of WiMAX and DTN in a real life context in Spain and the test site in Ireland;
  • development and tests of prototypes for web caching, e-mail, hikers PDA Apps, meteorological and environmental data capturing and animal tracking.

From the N4C Final Report Executive Summary

N4C’s contribution to the Future Internet vision significantly enhances the delivery of

‘Internet Access for All’ into regions that are ‛communications challenged’. N4C has focused

on highly challenging scenarios with sparse populations in remote and topographically

complex areas. The solution investigated by N4C’s experiments in these challenging

scenarios extends the evolving Delay- and Disruption-Tolerant Networking technology

(DTN), combining DTN with enhanced WiMAX wireless technology. As a FIRE project, the

heart of N4C’s work was real-life tests in test beds that provided truly challenging

environments; the designs for these experiments and the hypotheses they were intended to test

were investigated through simulations and laboratory tests before deployment in the field.

N4C test beds were built in the Kočevje region of Slovenia and Swedish Lapland. Regular

tests embedded in end-users’ everyday lives at these sites continued throughout the project. In

the last year of the project, WiMAX and the combination of WiMAX and DTN were tested in

a real life context in Spain and at a technical test site in Ireland.


At the outset N4C adopted the spiral development model. This technique has spurred

advancement in areas from power management to routing. Target end users were involved

throughout the tests; systematically gathered feedback from end users’ experience has been

key to improving our knowledge of the problem and progressively refining the experiments.

To promote equal access, socio-economic research on the implementation context and issues

of gender and culture has complemented the technical strand. To demonstrate the economic

relevance of the proposals, applications were developed to prototype level or beyond, ranging

from unique applications for DTN, to the extension of generic services such as e-mail. The

theme of animal tracking has provided engineering challenges and has major economic

relevance for many remote areas. ‘Nomadic-friendly’ hardware solutions have been

developed to support the DTN infrastructure including a portable solar-powered ‘Village

router’ based on an Intel Atom low power processor.


Business models and exploitation plans have been developed. Open Source software for several applications and the infrastructure of DTN are described in public documents accessible through the N4C web site www.n4c.eu, the N4C wiki and other channels, together with data analysis tools, installation packages, and integration and simulation platforms for professional and end-user communities. The Slovenian test bed has been offered to the FIRE test bed federation, as a complement to the large scale facilities for the traditionally connected regions.


N4C has succeeded in its ambitions, demonstrating DTN access solutions and applications

that have proven stable and run autonomously for several months in real situations. Rapidly

deployable remote radiation monitoring equipment for the nuclear industry and WiMAX

repeaters are already on the market. More commercial results will follow. N4C has supported

the IRTF DTN research group’s interoperable DTN solution with contributions in nine areas

including the PRoPHET Routing Protocol and the Bundle Security Protocol (recently

published as RFC 6257).

Read more about N4C at:



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