Introduction to Mobile Agents
Mobile agents are a technology that is emerging through mobile computing and has an impact so much so forth that it eases the design, implementation, and distribution system. It allows you to reduce the traffic through your network and help you eliminate the network latency problems by effective means. More importantly, they help you in constructing a fault-tolerant system that is highly robust. They create it with their ability to independently operating through the processes that have created them. This indirectly benefits the end-users who are using them.
What are Mobile Agents?
A mobile agent is an agent software (a piece of code more precisely) featured with autonomy, social ability, self-learning, and important of these all, mobility which makes a combination with computer software and the data that can move from one computer to another by itself provided that both of those computers are in the same network, i.e. they do not need a communication node and can function even if a user is not connected to the network.
How Mobile Agents Work?
Mobile agents just move from one system to another. This is similar to visiting a web page (The browser we use downloads and presents us a copy of that webpage. In case of multiple versions, it downloads and presents us a version of that webpage). The mobile agent moves from various versions of the data itself. A mobile agent, when moves, save one version of its state (a copy of processing image), then transfers it to the new system or host and then starts execution from the previous checkpoint into the new system or host. This method has a minimum threat of user data to be exposed, and hence it is secure as well as popular.
They are often known as transportable agents. A more logical reason behind this is the fact that they can transfer data from one system to another without a corresponding node of communication.
They are classified into two types as mentioned below:
- Mobile agents with pre-defined path: These type of mobile agents have a predefined static path which they follow while migrating.
- Mobile agents with no pre-defined path or Free-Roaming Mobile Agents: These types of mobile agents choose paths of their own because they have a dynamic migration path to follow. We can say that they decide the migration path on their own (based on the network strength).
Features of Mobile Agents
Mobile agents have multiple salient features, out of which Mobility stands out. They are mobile, work independently, have the intelligence to autonomously search their path of moving or transferring, and are more communicative from one system to another even if the user is logged off from one system. They start to access the data exactly from the same point where they have left. These features make them handier in distribution systems.
They are not limited to their source code. They have the ability to move freely from one node to another. Also, they carry the data from the previous node with them, which makes them more useful as users can start working from exactly where they had things left. Moreover, it also has another advantage; even if the user is offline, the mobile agent can still do its migration work or be functional. These features make them available to work on mobile.
Mobile agents are intelligent and hold power to enhance their knowledge about the host node. They work intelligently when moving to the new host by keeping the knowledge of the old hosts secure with them as well as open to grab the knowledge about the new host. That’s why they are considered intelligent.
They are autonomous and can work on their own. Their working is limited as per the user commands or actions, and sometimes, when the user is offline, mobile agents still can function on their own or choose a path of their own.
The mobile agents are communicative. They constantly communicate with the host node and the node where they transfer; they communicate with different users, different systems. Do you think it is all possible without being able to establish secure communication?
The image below shows the working of the mobile agents.
Here, we can see that the data from one agent is being sent to the internet, and the same data is being transferred from the internet to agent 1 and agent three, and this is the same data agent 1 sends to agent 2. Meaning, the data bundles are being able to relocate through different agents from one place to another. This reduces network traffic.
Advantages of Mobile Agents
- Reduce network load by carrying data (relocatable data package) with them from the host server.
- Autonomously move between servers.
- Can work on multiple networks simultaneously (parallel processing), which increases efficiency.
- They can be maintained easily and are said to be maintenance-friendly.
- They are highly tolerant of the network faults as the agents still can be active or operational even the user is disconnected or logged out.
- They are intelligent as they can make a difference between agents actions and actions taken by the host environment, which makes them dynamically adaptable.
Disadvantage of Mobile Agents
- They sometimes can possess a security threat to the data they transport from one host to another.
Given below are the applications of Mobile Agents:
- Mobile agents are often actively used in E-Commerce, Logistics, Network Management, Traffic Control, Robotic Applications.
- They are also useful in Mobile Computing, Grid Computing, Parallel Computing, etc.
Mobile agents are useful as they travel from one system to another and transfer data along with themselves. They can establish their connection with the host node even if the user is disconnected. They are of two types: One’s those have a fixed static path to travel and another who is dynamically intelligent in a way that they can decide traveling path on their own.
This is a guide to Mobile Agents. Here we discuss the introduction, working, features, advantages, disadvantage and applications, respectively. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –