The goal of this paper is to increase our understanding of the fundamental performance limits of mobile and delay tolerant networks (DTNs), where end-to-end multi-hop paths may not exist and communication routes may only be available through time and mobility. We use analytical tools to derive generic theoretical upper bounds for the information propagation speed in large scale mobile and intermittently connected networks. In other words, we upper-bound the optimal performance, in terms of delay, that can be achieved using any routing algorithm. We then show how our analysis can be applied to specific mobility and graph models to obtain specific analytical estimates. In particular, when nodes move at speed v and their density v is small (the network is sparse and surely disconnected), we prove that the information propagation speed is upper bounded by (1 + O(v²))v in the random way-point model, while it is upper bounded by O(radic(vv)v) for other mobility models (random walk, Brownian motion). We also present simulations that confirm the validity of the bounds in these scenarios.
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