The growing number of mobile devices has triggered rapid advances in cellular technology and services, leading to increased demand for higher data speeds and quality of service (QoS), along with the need to access data anytime, anywhere from any device. However, this growing number of mobile devices has led to an exponential increase in traffic on mobile networks. So far, cellular networks have maintained QoS and provided a good user experience in isolated areas. However, current cellular network techniques will hardly meet the growing demand for capacity. 

In response to this problem, academia and industry have been thinking about incorporating of device-to-device (D2D) communication within 5G to extend the coverage radius of mobile networks and reduce the overload traffic of base stations, among other functionalities. Such a type of communication aims to enable direct communication between mobile devices without a base station.

D2D also encompasses many applications, some of which are shown in the figure below. As a concrete example, D2D can be used as an alternative content delivery method to satisfy communications requiring high demand and fast distribution; for example, broadcasting used for emergency services or natural disasters. Furthermore, D2D can extend service coverage in areas with poor or non-existent cellular service, exploiting nearby devices as relays to other cellular infrastructures.  Last, but not least, given its autonomy from cellular technologies, D2D can generate local wireless networks, thus relieving the traffic load on base stations. 

IoT-NGIN is exploring the potential of D2D to leverage its benefits in cellular networks. Therefore, IoT-NGIN is developing AtomD, an Android mobile application that measures the performance of D2D in real-world environments, leveraging the Nearby Connection API provided by Google.

AtomD, currently in development, will be released in the upcoming months and announced on the IoT-NGIN website.