Survey on mobile social networking in proximity (MSNP): Approaches, challenges and architecture

Yufeng Wang*, Athanasios V. Vasilakos, Qun Jin, Jianhua Ma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, mobile social networks (MSN) have gained tremendous attention, which free users from face-to-monitor life, while still can share information and stay in touch with their friends on the go. However most MSN applications regard mobile terminals just as entry points to existing social networks, in which centralized servers (for storage and processing of all application/context data) and continual Internet connectivity are prerequisites for mobile users to exploit MSN services, even though they are within proximity area (like campus, event spot, and community, etc.), and can directly exchange data through various wireless technologies (e.g.; Bluetooth, WiFi Direct, etc.). In this paper, we focus on mobile social networking in proximity (MSNP), which is explicitly defined in our paper as: MSNP is wireless peer-to-peer (P2P) network of spontaneously and opportunistically connected nodes, and uses geo-proximity as the primary filter in determining who is discoverable on the social network. In this paper, first, primary support approaches related to MSNP available in literature, are summarized and compared, including MSN, mobile P2P and opportunistic networks. And then, we offer the special characteristics of MSNP, open issues and potential solutions. A networking technologies and platform independent architecture is proposed for developing MSNP applications, and proof-of-concept implementation of WiFi direct based MSNP application is also provided. Our primary goal is to identify the characteristics, technical challenges and potential solutions for future MSNP applications, capable to flexibly adapt to different application domains and deployment requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1311
Number of pages17
JournalWireless Networks
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug


  • Mobile social networking in proximity (MSNP)
  • Opportunistic
  • Peer-to-peer
  • Platform independent development framework
  • Spontaneous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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