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Mobile ad hoc network

Mobile ad hoc network

(also MANET, wireless ad hoc network, WANET)

Mobile ad hoc network definition

A mobile ad hoc network is a decentralized self-configuring wireless network of mobile devices (such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets) connected by wireless links. Unlike traditional networks, mobile ad hoc networks may be set up and run without any pre-existing infrastructure (such as cables or routers).

Each device in a mobile ad hoc network may be moved freely within the network coverage area, reconfiguring its links to other network devices automatically. The convenience of mobile ad hoc networks comes at a cost — these networks are vulnerable to a number of attacks, such as eavesdropping and jamming.

See also: wireless network security, wireless fidelity

Real mobile ad hoc network examples

  • Military communications: Mobile ad hoc networks are useful in military operations, being able to establish communications in situations where the required infrastructure is unavailable or where the troops are expected to rapidly shift position.
  • Disaster response: Many large-scale disasters destroy or disable the existing communications infrastructure. Rescue personnel and assisting civilians may set up mobile ad hoc networks to coordinate their efforts and rapidly disseminate information about new discoveries.
  • Social networking: Mobile ad hoc networks may be used to share files, coordinate activities, or form connections between people in physical proximity — for example, between the attendees of a conference or a festival.
  • Sensor networks: Large numbers of small, wireless sensors may be deployed in an area and connected in a mobile ad hoc network to collect data. These sensors can communicate with each other, sharing data and coordinating activities to get better readings.

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