The developments in the communication and networking technologies have yielded many existing and envisioned information network architectures such as cognitive radio networks, sensor and actor networks, quantum communication networks, terrestrial next generation Internet, and InterPlaNetary Internet. However, there exist many common significant challenges to be addressed for the practical realization of these current and envisioned networking paradigms such as the increased complexity with large scale networks, their dynamic nature, resource constraints, heterogeneous architectures, absence or impracticality of centralized control and infrastructure, need for survivability, and unattended resolution of potential failures. These challenges have been successfully dealt with by Nature, which, as a result of millions of years of evolution, have yielded many biological systems and processes with intrinsic appealing characteristics such as adaptivity to varying environmental conditions, inherent resiliency to failures and damages, successful and collaborative operation on the basis of a limited set of rules and with global intelligence which is larger than superposition of individuals, self-organization, survivability, and evolvability. Inspired by these characteristics, many researchers are currently engaged in developing innovative design paradigms to address the networking challenges of existing and envisioned information systems. In this paper, the current state-of-the-art in bio-inspired networking is captured. The existing bio-inspired networking and communication protocols and algorithms devised by looking at biology as a source of inspiration, and by mimicking the laws and dynamics governing these systems are presented along with open research issues for the bio-inspired networking. Furthermore, the domain of bio-inspired networking is linked to the emerging research domain of nano networks, which bring a set of unique challenges. The objective of this survey is to provide better understanding of the potentials for bio-inspired networking which is currently far from being fully recognized, and to motivate the research community to further explore this timely and exciting topic.
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