Coalition Games with Cooperative Transmission: A Cure for the Curse of Boundary Nodes in Selfish Packet-Forwarding Wireless Networks

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In wireless packet-forwarding networks with selfish nodes, applications of a repeated game can induce the nodes to forward each others’ packets, so that the network performance can be improved. However, the nodes on the boundary of such networks cannot benefit from this strategy, as the other nodes do not depend on them. This problem is sometimes known as the curse of the boundary nodes. To overcome this problem, an approach based on coalition games is proposed, in which the boundary nodes can use cooperative transmission to help the backbone nodes in the middle of the network. In return, the backbone nodes are willing to forward the boundary nodes’ packets. The stability of the coalitions is studied using the concept of a core. Then two types of fairness, namely, the minmax fairness using nucleolus and the average fairness using the Shapley function are investigated. Finally, a protocol is designed using both repeated games and coalition games. Simulation results show how boundary nodes and backbone nodes form coalitions together according to different fairness criteria. The proposed protocol can improve the network connectivity by about 50%, compared with pure repeated game schemes.