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A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a self-configuring infrastructureless network of mobile devices connected by wireless. Ad hoc is Latin and means "for this purpose".[1]

Each device in a MANET is free to move independently in any direction, and will therefore change its links to other devices frequently. Each must forward traffic unrelated to its own use, and therefore be a router. The primary challenge in building a MANET is equipping each device to continuously maintain the information required to properly route traffic. Such networks may operate by themselves or may be connected to the larger Internet.

MANETs are a kind of Wireless ad hoc network that usually has a routable networking environment on top of a Link Layer ad hoc network.

The growth of laptops and 802.11/Wi-Fi wireless networking have made MANETs a popular research topic since the mid-1990s. Many academic papers evaluate protocols and their abilities, assuming varying degrees of mobility within a bounded space, usually with all nodes within a few hops of each other. Different protocols are then evaluated based on measures such as the packet drop rate, the overhead introduced by the routing protocol, end-to-end packet delays, network throughput etc.


  • Internet based mobile ad hoc networks (iMANET) are ad hoc networks that link mobile nodes and fixed Internet-gateway nodes. In such type of networks normal adhoc routing algorithms don't apply directly.
  • Intelligent vehicular ad hoc networks (InVANETs) are a kind of artificial intelligence that helps vehicles to behave in intelligent manners during vehicle-to-vehicle collisions, accidents, drunken driving etc.


There are several ways to study MANETs. One solution is the use of simulation tools like OPNET, NetSim and NS2

Data monitoring and mining

MANETS can be used for facilitating the collection of sensor data for data mining for a variety of applications such as air pollution monitoring and different types of architectures can be used for such applications.[2] It should be noted that a key characteristic of such applications is that nearby sensor nodes monitoring an environmental feature typically register similar values. This kind of data redundancy due to the spatial correlation between sensor observations inspires the techniques for in-network data aggregation and mining. By measuring the spatial correlation between data sampled by different sensors, a wide class of specialized algorithms can be developed to develop more efficient spatial data mining algorithms as well as more efficient routing strategies.[3] Also researchers have developed performance models[4][5] for MANET by applying Queueing Theory.


A lot of research has been done in the past but the most significant contributions have been the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) and trust based security. None of the protocols have made a decent trade off between security and performance. In an attempt to enhance security in MANETs many researchers have suggested and implemented new improvements to the protocols and some of them have suggested new protocols.

Attack classifications

These attacks on MANETs challenge the mobile infrastructure in which nodes can join and leave easily with dynamics requests without a static path of routing. Schematics of various attacks as described by Al-Shakib Khan [1] on individual layer are as under:

  • Application Layer: Malicious code, Repudiation
  • Transport Layer: Session hijacking, Flooding
  • Network Layer: Sybil, Flooding, Black Hole, Grey Hole. Worm Hole, Link Spoofing, Link Withholding, Location disclosure etc.
  • Data Link/MAC: Malicious Behavior, Selfish Behavior, Active, Passive, Internal External
  • Physical: Interference, Traffic Jamming, Eavesdropping

See also


Further reading

Mobile ad hoc social network (Overview):

Ad hoc network papers (overview):

External links

  • IETF MANET group
  • NIST MANET and Sensor Network Security project
  • Wireless Ad Hoc Networks Bibliography
  • Hybrid Ad Hoc Mesh Networks in Military
  • IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society – for VANETs
  • Smart Multi-Grid Wifi Mesh: Integrated wifi mesh network provides metering, traffic safety, wifi access to communities in US.
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