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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Wireless Network
3.
Ad Hoc Network
4.
Types Of Ad Hoc Network
5.
Characteristics of the Ad Hoc Network
6.
Advantages of Ad Hoc Network
7.
Disadvantages of Ad Hoc Network
8.
Improvement in Ad Hoc Network
8.1.
Security
8.2.
Routing Protocols
8.3.
Dynamic Network Management
8.4.
Energy Efficiency
8.5.
Reliability and Fault Tolerance
9.
Frequently Asked Questions
9.1.
What is a network?
9.2.
What is the principle of ad hoc network?
9.3.
In which category of wireless network does an ad hoc network fall?
9.4.
What is the type of ad hoc network into which connections between vehicles and roadside devices fall?
10.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
Medium

What is an Ad Hoc Network?

Author Prakriti Gupta
2 upvotes
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Ashwin Goyal
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Introduction

Let us start the article by understanding the network itself. A network is nothing but a connection between two or more nodes to establish communication between them. Communication can be of any sort. It can mean sharing a resource, exchange of files, or normal messages between the linked devices. Now that we know what connection is, we must also understand how we establish this connection. It can be either wired or wireless

What is an Ad Hoc Network?

Ad hoc network comes in the category of the wireless network. So let us first understand wireless networks and then move on to ad hoc networks.

Wireless Network

By the word wireless network, we can understand that wireless network establishment does not involve wires or cables. 

ad hoc network

 

There are two types of wireless networks:

Infrastructure Network: These networks have some infrastructure that helps establish the wireless network. The best example to understand this network is cell phone networks. We have mobile towers that work as infrastructure and help establish the network.  

Now we have two categories to consider in this type of network:

 

  • Single Hop Infrastructure Network: In this category, the sender directly communicates with the receiver without any other node being involved. For example, Wifi, we need a router to establish the connection. Using the router, every device can establish the network directly with the wifi without involving any other device or node.

 

  • Multi-Hop Infrastructure Network: In this, the communication happens via intermediate nodes. Multiple nodes help communicate between two endpoints, for example, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication). Using the chip, we send the data to various nodes to pass the data to the destination. 
     

Infrastructure-Less Network: These networks do not have any infrastructure to support establishing the network. They are also two types:

 

  • Single Hop Infrastructure-less Network: Communication between the sender and receiver happens without any intermediate node. Example through which we can understand this type of network is bluetooth. We never require any specific equipment or infrastructure to establish a bluetooth connection. We turn on the bluetooth feature, pair the devices and then communicate.

 

  • Multi-Hop Infrastructure-less Network: In this category, we have multiple nodes that help communicate between two devices or nodes without involving infrastructure. The ad hoc network comes in this category. Let us now deep dive into ad hoc networks.
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Ad Hoc Network

As we saw above, an ad hoc network is an infrastructure-less multi-hop wireless network. We get the idea that communication will not happen directly between the sender and the receiver but through multiple nodes. We also use the term MANET, a mobile ad hoc network. 

The ad hoc network is generally for mobiles. We usually establish an ad hoc network for mobiles. In this network, every node routes the packet not for itself towards its destination. All the nodes which are present in the network communicate with each other without any infrastructure or a central controller.

Also, a mobile ad hoc network can connect to other fixed networks. Every device present in the ad hoc network is free to move. This property gives the ad hoc network the characteristic of being a dynamic topology. 

Types Of Ad Hoc Network

The major categories into which the ad hoc networks are categorized are:

 

  • MANETs: It stands for Mobile Ad Hoc Network. It is a network of mobile phones without requiring any infrastructure. This network is capable of self-organizing and self-configuring.
  • VANETs: It stands for Vehicular Ad Hoc Network. Communication between vehicles and roadside devices occurs through this network. 
  • SPANs: Smartphone Ad Hoc Network is the network established between smartphones in a particular range. It is a type of peer-to-peer network. 
  • Wireless Mesh Network: The devices connect in a mesh topology in this category.
  • Wireless Sensor Networks: We have sensory devices in an ad hoc network in this network category.
     

Characteristics of the Ad Hoc Network

The main characteristics of an ad hoc network are:
 

Dynamic Topologies: Devices in the ad hoc network are capable of changing the topology anytime. By default, they use multi-hop topology. 
 

Less Reliability: Wireless networks are less reliable than wired networks. They are also less stable and less efficient.

 

Autonomous Behaviour: In ad hoc networks, we do not have specific nodes that work as hosts or routers. Any node can act like a host or router, depending on the situation.

 

Less Security: Wireless networks are less secure because there is no firewall present.

 

Less Human Intervention: Ad hoc networks configure themselves, so there is a significantly less human intervention to configure the network.

Advantages of Ad Hoc Network

The advantages of the ad hoc network are:

  • Firstly the network requires no hardware to establish the connection, so the cost of making a connection becomes low.
     
  • When we do not have an option of connecting devices through cable, ad hoc networks are an option to establish the connection.
     
  • Very less human intervention is required because ad hoc networks are self-configurable.
     
  • When we need less number of devices to connect, an ad hoc network is preferable over traditional methods of connection(connection requiring the use of infrastructure).

Disadvantages of Ad Hoc Network

Let us have a look at the disadvantages of ad hoc networks:

  • There can be some difficulty when the number of devices in the connection increases. There can be noise,  interference, etc.
     
  • There are fewer security options in this network. We do not have an infrastructure in this network that affects the security concerns for the network. 
     
  • In this network, there's no authentication involved.

Improvement in Ad Hoc Network

There can be some improvements made in the ad hoc network category. Some of them are listed below:

Security

Ad-hoc networks are very vulnerable to cyber attacks due to some reasons. Thus, it is vital to improve the security features of these networks like user authentication, data encryption, and intrusion detection.

Routing Protocols

Ad-hoc networks use routing protocols like AODV and DSR. But, it is crucial to build robust and efficient routing protocols for high mobility and energy-constrained devices.

Dynamic Network Management

Ad-hoc networks have dynamically topological connections. Thus, improvements should be made to develop adaptive techniques for the configuration, optimizing, and maintaining these networks.

Energy Efficiency

Devices used in ad-hoc networks like IoT or other mobile devices are mostly battery based. Thus, improvements should be made to prolong their battery life.

Reliability and Fault Tolerance

Ad-hoc networks are susceptible to network partitions and link failures. Thus, improvements should be made to increase the reliability of the network, self-healing, and fault tolerance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a network?

 A network is a connection between two or more nodes to establish communication between them. Communication can be of any sort. It can mean sharing a resource, exchange of files, or normal messages between the linked devices.

What is the principle of ad hoc network?

An ad hoc network is a decentralized wireless network where devices communicate directly without a central infrastructure. It self-organizes, adapts to dynamic topologies, and uses routing protocols to facilitate multi-hop communication, often in resource-constrained environments.

In which category of wireless network does an ad hoc network fall?

Ad Hoc Network is a multi-hop infrastructure-less network. 

What is the type of ad hoc network into which connections between vehicles and roadside devices fall?

VANETs is the term we use for connections between vehicles and roadside devices.

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Conclusion

In this article, we read about networks and types of networks. We also read about the categories of wireless networks and discussed the category into which the ad hoc network falls. We concluded the article by discussing the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of ad hoc networks. 

Don't stop yourself here. Also, practice data structures and algorithmsinterview questionsDBMScomputer networks, and operating systems to crack the interviews of big tech giants. Explore other fields like machine learningdeep learningcomputer vision, and big data. Also, check out Interview Experiences for different companies.

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