The development of a dynamically configured wireless ad-hoc multihop network protocol
Thesis (MScEng (Electrical and Electronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
An ad-hoc network encompasses the cooperative engagement of a collection of mobile nodes that are free to move and communicate with each other wirelessly without the required intervention of any centralized access point or existing infrastructure. The advantage of such a network lies in it’s robustness, adaptiveness, the fact that its self-configurable and that it becomes somewhat indestructible due to it’s decentralized nature. But such a network layout simultaneously introduces many complex network management issues which are normally taken care of inherently by a rigid network architecture. The biggest challenge faced by any such protocol is the fact that it needs to be scalable, must maintain a decent stable data throughput, all whilst performing it’s own continuous network management and associated routing algorithms. These mobile nodes need a complex, scalable, compact and essentially realtime algorithm for maintaining an up to date representation of the overall network layout, yet without clogging the system’s communications channels with too much overhead traffic, and drastically lowering the effective data throughput. Since each mobile node only has a limited communications range each node also needs very advanced routing capabilities which will allow it to track who is currently within communications range, and at the same time allow the node to create multihop paths to distant destination nodes, thus connecting nodes which cannot directly communicate. This report follows the development process of both the software needed to successfully conceptualize, simulate and test the protocol, as well as the hardware needed as proof of concept. It highlights and discusses the various design choices / considerations made in development of such a protocol, the strong- and weakpoints of the developed protocol, as well as providing several possibilities to further evolve the developed protocol.