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In Networking Last updated: February 20, 2023
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MANET is a type of wireless network that does not rely on a fixed infrastructure such as a router or access point. 

The origin of MANETs can be traced back to the 1970s when researchers began exploring the use of packet radio networks. These networks were created to provide direct communication between devices without the use of a fixed infrastructure.

As mobile computing and innovations in wireless technology allowed for the creation of complex and dynamic networks,  the idea of an ad hoc network as we know it today started to take shape.

Since then, Research in the field of MANETs has continued to evolve, with new protocols, algorithms, and applications being developed to address the unique challenges of these networks.

Let’s see what this MANET is all about and where it is used.

What is MANET?

MANET stands for Mobile Ad-hoc Network. It is a type of wireless network where mobiles, laptops,  and tablets can connect with one another without the need for a centralized infrastructure or pre-existing communication network.

Image Source: networksimulationtools

In a MANET,  devices communicate with each other by forming a temporary network. Each device acts as both a sender and a receiver of data.

When a device wants to communicate with another device, it broadcasts a signal or message to all other devices within its communication range. The intended recipient device receives the message and responds accordingly.

If the target device is not within its direct communication range, it sends the message to a nearby device which then forwards it to the next device and so on, until the message reaches its destination.

The devices in a MANET use a routing protocol to dynamically establish and maintain network connections as they move in and out of each other’s communication range. The routing protocol helps the devices determine the best route for forwarding data packets to their destination based on the network topology, link quality, and other factors.

One common routing protocol used in MANETs is the Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vector (AODV) protocol. The AODV protocol allows devices to establish routes on-demand and supports both unicast and multicast communication.

Another routing protocol used in MANETs is the Dynamic Source Routing (DSR) protocol,  which is based on source routing and allows devices to maintain a route cache of recently used routes.

Why one needs MANET? 

Below are some of the features to describe how the MANET can be used.

Lack of Infrastructure

In situations where there is no existing network infrastructure, such as in remote locations or military operations,  a MANET can be quickly established without relying on pre-existing infrastructure.

Flexibility and Mobility

A MANET can be easily set up and moved as needed, making them ideal for situations where the network needs to be reconfigured quickly.

For example, in a military operation, a MANET can be set up and reconfigured as troops move through different locations.


Deploying a conventional network infrastructure can occasionally be extremely costly, especially in isolated or rural locations. However,  a MANET can be set up easily using already-owned devices, which makes it a more affordable option.


They do not require any manual configuration or setup. As devices join or leave the network, the routing protocol dynamically adjusts to ensure that all devices can communicate with each other.


A MANET can be scaled up or down as needed, depending on the size of the network and the number of devices involved. This makes it ideal for situations where the network size and topology may constantly be changing, such as in a disaster area or outdoor event.

Characteristics of MANET

The main characteristics of a MANET include:

Dynamic topology

The network’s topology constantly changes as nodes move in and out of range or new nodes join or leave the network. This makes it challenging to maintain a stable and reliable network.


There is no centralized control or fixed infrastructure in MANETs, which means that all nodes in the network must cooperate with each other to ensure the proper functioning of the network.

Limited resources

Mobile devices have limited battery power, processing power, and storage capacity, which can affect the performance and efficiency of the network.

Security challenges

MANETs are vulnerable to various security threats, such as eavesdropping, interception, and denial of service attacks. The lack of a fixed infrastructure and the decentralized nature of the network makes it challenging to implement effective security measures.


Nodes in the network must self-organize to form and maintain the network topology,  which requires the use of distributed protocols and algorithms.

Bandwidth constraints

The available bandwidth in MANETs is typically limited and shared among all nodes in the network, which can affect the speed and reliability of data transmissions.


The network’s stability and dependability may be impacted by the unrestricted movement of its nodes. Maintaining routing tables and ensuring proper data forwarding is difficult due to mobility.

Applications of MANET

MANETs have a variety of applications,  especially in situations where a traditional wired or wireless network is not available. Some of the common applications of MANETs are:

Military communications

Used in military operations to provide secure and reliable communication between troops and vehicles, even in hostile or remote environments.

Social networks

MANETs can be used to form spontaneous communication networks in social situations such as concerts or festivals, where traditional networks may be congested or unavailable.

Emergency services

Traditional communication infrastructures might well be damaged or destructed in the case of natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes. Here,  MANETs can be used to quickly deploy communication networks to aid in rescue and relief efforts.

Sensor networks

MANETs can be used to connect wireless sensors in environments such as agriculture, environmental monitoring, or healthcare. The sensors can then communicate with each other, and the data can be collected and analyzed for various purposes.

Transportation networks

In improving the safety and efficiency of transportation systems, such as vehicles communicating with each other to avoid collisions or to provide traffic updates.

Personal area networks

It can also be used for communication between personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices in situations where traditional networks are not available.

Learning Resources

There are several books available in the market that provide a comprehensive overview of MANET, including its history, key concepts, and current research trends. Here, we have listed some of them.

#1. Applications of Mobile Ad Hoc Network

This book provides readers with a broad understanding of the practical use cases of MANETs and their potential impact on different domains.

Furthermore, the book describes the use of the NS2 simulation package for implementation and experimental work, which could be helpful for researchers who want to test and evaluate different routing protocols in MANETs.

This book is organized into 18 chapters each written by leading experts in the field of Ad-hoc networking. The chapters cover a wide range of topics related to MANETs, including routing protocols, security mechanisms, quality of service, and multimedia applications.

No products found.

#3. Node Securing Protocol for Effective Routing in Mobile Ad Hoc Network

First, This book provides a detailed overview of the challenges faced by Ad-hoc networks, such as the lack of a centralized infrastructure, limited resources,  and their sensitivity to attacks.

It then proposes a solution to these challenges through the development of the NSP protocol.

It also includes detailed diagrams and examples to help readers understand the concepts presented.

Author’s Note

As the demand for wireless connectivity continues to grow,  the importance of MANETs is likely to increase as well.

The goal of future research in this area will be to find innovative approaches to solve MANET’s challenges, including resource allocation, energy management, and QoS provisioning.

Overall, the field of MANETs is a rapidly evolving area of research with many exciting opportunities for innovation and development.

I hope you found this article helpful in learning about Mobile Ad hoc networks and their usage. You may also be interested in learning about network optimization and the methods you can implement to enhance network performance.

  • Ashlin Jenifa
    Hey there, my name is Ashlin, and I’m a senior technical writer. I’ve been in the game for a while now, and I specialize in writing about all sorts of cool technology topics like Linux, Networking, Security, Dev Tools, Data Analytics, and Cloud… read more
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