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Bluetronix, Inc.
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Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

Research & Development

A MANET is a collection of computers, or nodes, participating and cooperating in a computer network. Information is communicated between nodes via a wireless link. There is a limited communications range for each node, and each node has only a few neighbors. Neighbors are nodes that can communicate directly. Nodes are assumed to be mobile; nodes can move relative to each other. This mobility allows the topology of the network to change dynamically. The network topology can be represented as a graph of the links that exist between pairs of nodes. Two nodes connected by a link may exchange information directly; otherwise, they must find a path using intermediate nodes to forward the information from the source to the destination.

Mobile ad-hoc networks are self-organized networks. Communication in ad-hoc network does not require existence of a central base station or a fixed network infrastructure. Each node of an ad-hoc network is the destination of some information packets while at the same time it can function as relay station for other packets to their final destination. This multi-hop support in ad-hoc networks, which makes communication between nodes outside direct radio range of each other possible, is probably the most distinct difference between mobile ad-hoc networks and wireless LANs. A mobile ad-hoc network may be connected at the edges to the fixed, wired Internet. In this case, mobile ad-hoc networks expand the present Internet and wireless access to Internet.

Ad-hoc networks represent a step forward in mobility, robustness, and availability of computer communications. Users no longer need to be restricted to a certain area in order to maintain a data link. They are allowed to go where they please as long as they remain within range of another participating node. Ad-hoc networks may be created and configured in real time, without the need for installed infrastructure or system administrator. This feature allows for a great deal of flexibility in how MANETs are managed. The same amount of effort is needed to create any size network.

Some sample applications for ad-hoc network include:

Search and Rescue: A search and rescue scenario generally exists in a region that has little or no installed communications infrastructure. This may be because all of the equipment was destroyed, or perhaps because the region is too remote. Rescuers must be able to communicate to make the best use of their energy and to maintain safety. By automatically establishing a data network with the communications equipment that the rescuers are already carrying, their job is made easier.

Battlefield Communications: The military is interested in MANET development to enhance the networking capabilities of their forces. Battlefields are generally located in areas with little installed or trusted communications infrastructure. Ad-hoc networks may be established quickly by diverse components of our advancing forces. An ad-hoc communications network may be used to connect warfighters, manned and unmanned vehicles, manned and unmanned aircraft, sensors, and command posts so that timely and relevant information is available to those who need it.

Infrastructureless Networking: Civilian applications for MANETs include ubiquitous computing. By allowing computers to forward data for others, data networks may be extended far beyond the usual reach of installed infrastructure. Networks may be made more widely available and easier to use.

Sensor Networks: Sensor networks are composed of a very large number of small sensors which can be used to detect any number of properties of an area. Examples include temperature, pressure, toxins, pollutants, etc. The capabilities of each sensor are very limited, and each must rely on others in order to forward data to a central computer. Individual sensors are limited in their computing capability and are prone to failure and loss.

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