The infostation communication paradigm represents a good trade-off between the size of investments in infrastructure and the connectivity needs in rural areas. In fact, exploiting the emerging mesh networking technologies, infostations can be deployed with low cost. In infostation systems, mobile nodes achieve network connectivity when they are in the radio coverage of the infostation. Nevertheless, preliminary to the communication, there is a phase in which discovery must be achieved between mobile nodes and the infostation. This is an energy consuming phase that has significant impact on the performance experienced by mobile nodes. In this article the trade-off between energy efficiency and performance experienced by mobile users is discussed. This is an important problem in rural areas since infostations will often be supplied by photovoltaic or eolic generators, which have a cost that increases as the need for energy increases. To carry the study, analytical results previously obtained for general mobile wireless networks are tailored to infostation systems deployed in rural areas. Such derivations have been utilized to gain insight into the design of energy-efficient protocols for the above application scenario.
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