Take one for the team: on the time efficiency of application-level buffer-aided relaying in edge cloud communication

Zheng Li*, Francisco Millar-Bilbao, Gonzalo Rojas-Durán, Susana Ladra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Adding buffers to networks is part of the fundamental advance in data communication. Since edge cloud computing is based on the heterogeneous collaboration network model in a federated environment, it is natural to consider buffer-aided data communication for edge cloud applications. However, the existing studies generally pursue the beneficial features of buffering at a cost of time, not to mention that many investigations are focused on lower-layer data packets rather than application-level communication transactions.

Aims: Driven by our argument against the claim that buffers “can introduce additional delay to the communication between the source and destination”, this research aims to investigate whether or not (and if yes, to what extent) the application-level buffering mechanism can improve the time efficiency in edge-cloud data transmissions.

Method: To collect empirical evidence for the theoretical discussion, we built up a testbed to simulate a remote health monitoring system, and conducted both experimental and modeling investigations into the first-in-first-served (FIFS) and buffer-aided data transmissions at a relay node in the system.

Results: An empirical inequality system is established for revealing the time efficiency of buffer-aided edge cloud communication. For example, given the reference of transmitting the 11th data entity in the FIFS manner, the inequality system suggests buffering up to 50 data entities into one transmission transaction on our testbed.

Conclusions: Despite the trade-off benefits (e.g., energy efficiency and fault tolerance) of buffering data, our investigation argues that the buffering mechanism can also speed up data transmission under certain circumstances, and thus it would be worth taking data buffering into account when designing and developing edge cloud applications even in the time-critical context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalJournal of Cloud Computing
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic data entity
  • Buffering
  • Communication performance
  • Edge cloud computing
  • Time efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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