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Nowadays, a very useful platform is becoming widely used to deploy new services and applications in the Internet: the overlay networks. These networks create a virtual topology on top of existing ones with the purpose of providing several different services such as file sharing or content delivery. This survey focuses on diverse research issues concerning overlay networks applicability and management strategies required for emergent network environments. In this way, mobility, security, scalability, dependability and resource constraints are studied with regard to overlay networks. The authors finally discuss the evolution of these networks in order to satisfy new technological improvements.
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