A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a continuously self-configuring, infrastructure-less network of mobile devices connected without wires. Ad hoc is Latin and means "for this purpose".
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. They may contain one or multiple and different transceivers between nodes. This results in a highly dynamic, autonomous topology.
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. MANETs consist of a peer-to-peer, self-forming, self-healing network. MANETs circa 2000-2015 typically communicate at radio frequencies (30 MHz - 5 GHz)
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, ability to scale, etc.
- Vehicular Ad hoc Networks (VANETs) are used for communication between vehicles and roadside equipment. 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.
- Smart Phone Ad hoc Networks (SPANs) leverage the existing hardware (primarily Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) in commercially available smart phones to create peer-to-peer networks without relying on cellular carrier networks, wireless access points, or traditional network infrastructure. SPANs differ from traditional hub and spoke networks, such as Wi-Fi Direct, in that they support multi-hop relays and there is no notion of a group leader so peers can join and leave at will without destroying the network.
- Internet based mobile ad hoc networks (iMANETs) are ad hoc networks that link mobile nodes and fixed Internet-gateway nodes. For example, multiple sub-MANETs may be connected in a classic Hub-Spoke VPN to create a geographically distributed MANET. In such type of networks normal ad hoc routing algorithms don't apply directly. One implementation of this is Persistent System's CloudRelay.
- Military / Tactical MANETs are used by military units with emphasis on security, range, and integration with existing systems. Common waveforms include the US Army's SRW, Harris's ANW2 and HNW, Persistent Systems' Wave Relay, Trellisware's TSM and Silvus Technologies' StreamCaster.
- A mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) is an ad-hoc network but an ad-hoc network is not necessarily a MANET.
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. 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. Also, researchers have developed performance models for MANET by applying queueing theory.