Monday, March 17, 2008

MaNET, mobile ad-hoc networking

MaNET, mobile ad-hoc network, a way of making a ad-hoc larger network of several WiFi points. Think about all the WiFi points in your surroundings, most likely all working with their own gateway to the internet, now imagine that they are connection also in a bridge mode to several of those other WiFi points and if your gateway fails it will use the gateway of one of the other points. Or even imagine load balancing over all those gateways. If it is to busy on your gateway routing the traffic from the clients connected to your WiFi point, over the airwaves, to a other WiFi point and using that gateway.

Now think about moving to a new area to live, no internet connection yet, however when you boot your WiFi router it will detect a MaNET mash and connect to it and uses the gateways available to you. When your internet connection is back online you will also share your gateway with others.

Now think about a group of nodes in the MaNET mash having a gateway and a lot not, the WiFi points who can connect direct to a gateway enabled node will have access to the internet, however they will be able to relay the communication of nodes that are too far away for direct connect via themselves or even several nodes to a gateway enabled node.

These are several options of a MaNET, keeping a ad-hoc WiFi network running with sharing of gateway nodes and trying to make a mash so tight that everyone can jump in the mobile network.

Now we have talked only about this possibility with privately owned nodes of people who like to join a grid, now think about all those things you see in the streets that could potentially be networked via WiFi, securely for the original intention but also publicly being part as a relay point or even gateway point of a bigger mash. Think about traffic lights, vending machines, public transportation information systems, kiosks, bars, coffee shops and people owning a node themselves. All these nodes connecting to a large and free available network where everyone can hook into, someone coming to live in the surroundings or someone traveling and in need of WiFi access.

There are already some of these networks running in some cities around the globe, however my feeling is that a lot need to be done to get things running more smoothly. Now some technical knowledge is required to things up and running which is a shame because a lot of people will not take the time to join the grid.

On the technical side however a lot of projects are on the way to improve this. Here you can find some links to nice projects:

The Grid Ad Hoc Networking Project” from MIT.
Integrating Mobile Ad Hoc Networks into the Internet” from the Universit├Ąt of Paderborn.

Intrusion Detection for Mobile Ad Hoc Networks” from the university of California.
Secure Mobile Networking Project" from The Portland State University.
Self-Organized Routing in Mobile Ad Hoc Networks
Passive Autoconfiguration for Mobile Ad hoc Networks (PACMAN)”
Message Ferrying for Sparse and Disconnected Mobile Network” from Georgia Tech.

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