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Overlay Routing Protocols for Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Research Area: Mobile Ad-hoc Networks
Status: Finished Degree: Master
Directors: Students:
Proposed start date: 2007-09-01 Proposed end date: 2008-09-05

Mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) are wireless network which do not rely on any fixed infrastructure. The nodes in a MANET may not have all other nodes in radio range, so each node must act both as final node and as router. The interest in MANETs has grown with the increasing popularity of wireless enabled devices (laptops, PDA, mobile phones).

Due to mobility and multi-hop nature of MANETs, each node needs to run a routing protocol in order to be able to forward messages from the node to the destination. These protocols should take into account the node mobility and react to topology changes as well as do not add high overhead to the network. Moreover, depending on application needs, nodes must be able to route both unicast and multicast packets.

Mobile ad hoc networks represent an interesting substrate for many types of applications that do not require a fixed network infrastructure. For instance, spontaneous collaborative applications are of particular interest for settings where many users can interact with close-by participants (conferences, campuses, stadiums, popular events, cities, games). In these settings, it is very important for MANET middleware and applications to be aware of the underlying routing protocols and topology. If the middleware just uses the underlying transport protocol as a black box, it can incur in communication inefficiencies due to the multi-hop nature of the medium.

Existing MANET middleware either ignore the underlying routing protocol or create specific cross-layer solutions that break the strict layering of the network stack. Our proposal, based on peer-to-peer protocols for the Internet, is to move the routing logic to the application layer. Thus, MANET middleware could benefit from routing protocols information. Furthermore, applications based on such a middleware, could be deployed as standalone applications without relying on another routing protocol.

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