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Mobile wireless network research focuses on scenarios at the extremes of the network connectivity continuum where the probability of all nodes being connected is either close to unity, assuming connected paths between all nodes (mobile ad hoc networks), or it is close to zero, assuming no multi-hop paths exist at all (delay-tolerant networks). In this paper, the authors argue that a sizable fraction of networks lies between these extremes and is characterized by the existence of partial paths, i.e., multi-hop path segments that allow forwarding data closer to the destination even when no end-to-end path is available.
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