© 2012 Nadav Aharony.
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Social Area Networks

Data Networking of People, by People, for People

The idea of Social Area Networks is aimed at the integration of social and human-level concepts with all layers of the communication network. This integration is bidirectional - the social information can help inform and configure network-level parameters, while network information can contribute to the gathering and learning of social-level information.

A Social Area Network, or SocAN, is a term encompassing network architectures built for and around people and their social relationships. In these architectures, the users’ social information pervades all the way through the network stack, down to the lower layers of the OSI model, and is used for configuring the network’s behavior and its services to the users. The SocAN’s main component can be thought of as a social awareness layer or a “social engine” that could be implemented either as a vertical layer that crosses the boundaries of all existing OSI layers, as seen in the figure above. Analogously, it could also be viewed as a component that is part of the management layer of a network device, which is able to interact with the existing layers and protocols and set their configuration parameters. The social layer uses the network stack’s state and additional information as input, and its socially related output can set parameters and provide additional functionalities as part of the control plane of the device.


Social Area Networks: Networking of People, by People, for People. Nadav Aharony, David P. Reed, and Andrew Lippman. Workshop on Leveraging Social Patterns for Security, Privacy, and Network Architectures, in conjunction with IEEE SocialCom-09, Vancouver, Canada, 2009. (PDF)