A Mobile Ad-hoc NETwork (MANET) is a data network suitable for voice, data and video traffic. The network is ad-hoc because it is not reliant on any pre-existing infrastructure. Data traverses the network by ‘hopping’ from one network node to another until it reaches its destination.

Instead of using a centralised router, each node in the network participates in routing network traffic by forwarding data for other nodes. The determination of which node forwards the data is a dynamic decision made by the Wave Relay® algorithm based on a number of variables, including;

  • Node availability
  • Link status
  • Environmental interference
  • Network neighbour status
  • The ratio of Signal (data) to Noise (interference)

Wave Relay® MANET networks are self-forming, self-healing. If nodes in a Wave Relay® MANET network become unavailable for any reason, the Wave Relay® algorithm running on the remaining nodes will reroute network traffic seamlessly via the most efficient path.

How does a MANET differ from a MESH network?

A MESH network is designed to be geographically static and is heavily reliant on a fixed infrastructure. Typically, a MESH network has one node designated as the ‘Master Node’ to maintain the entire network. This Master Node distributes DHCP network addresses to all other nodes in the network, and monitors the flow of traffic to decide on the most efficient route. The whole MESH network is dependent on this Master Node.

MESH Network – A Master Node is required at all times to maintain the network.

The Master Node in a MESH network is a single point of failure. What happens to a MESH network if the Master Node ceases to work…?

MANET networks are entirely dynamic and use an adaptive routing approach. There is no Master Node required to manage the network. All of the nodes in a MANET collaborate collectively to route traffic and maintain a robust link. This makes MANET networks much more resilient than MESH networks, and much less prone to failure. The ability of a MANET network to support this seamless transition of traffic essentially means the network is self-forming and self-healing.

MANET Network – Many more paths for the data, and no master node required.

A Wave Relay® MANET network operates at the OSI Layer 2 level – the same layer as a network switch. This provides the user with a ‘transparent network’. The IP address scheme of your MANET network doesn’t have to be the same as that of the devices connected to it, providing an almost plug-and-play experience. A Wave Relay® MANET network is essentially like having a really long Ethernet cable!

How does a MANET network differ from a WIFI network?

Quite simply, a WIFI network is a MESH network. One WIFI device (Node) speaks to another WIFI device (Node) via a router (Master Node). WIFI networks are dependent on routers to route their traffic.

How does a MANET network differ from a WIFI network?

Theoretically, a Wave Relay® MANET network will support an unlimited number of hops.

How many nodes can you have in a MANET network?

There is no limit to the number of nodes in a Wave Relay® MANET network. During real-world testing of the MPU5 MANET radio in 2018, a flat network of 320 MANET nodes was successfully evaluated with plenty of overhead for further expansion.

What does this mean for the user?

A Wave Relay® MANET network is ultra-reliable. Whereas MESH and WIFI networks are very static, MANET networks can adjust themselves on-the-fly to adapt to ever-changing operational environments.

Wave Relay® MANET networks are highly scalable, providing transparent seamless operation when nodes join or leave the network.

Wave Relay® MANET networks;

  • are very easy to set up
  • are self-forming / self-healing
  • support adaptive routing
  • are highly scalable – create networks with hundreds of nodes
  • support an infinite number of hops
  • seamlessly allow nodes to join or leave the network without network disruption
  • are transparent – operates at the OSI Layer 2 level
  • are mobile – MANET networks don’t require any fixed infrastructure
  • have the ability for each node to optimally configure its transmission parameters
  • support multicast traffic
  • operate on 3 x 3 MIMO principles for high performance data rates