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Current real-time collaborative application implementations use dedicated infrastructure to carry out all communication and synchronization activities. Specifically, they require all end nodes to communicate directly with and through the central server. In this paper, the authors investigate scenarios in which the most resource intensive functionality of continuous communication among collaborators to disseminate changes is decentralized, utilizing the end users themselves as relays. They observe that communication characteristics of real-time collaboration makes use of existing multicast mechanisms unsuitable. As collaborative editing sessions are typically long and repeated, it is possible to gather and leverage node behavior (their instabilities and frequency of sending updates) and communication links (latencies and average costs).
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