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Supporting Real-Time Services in Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks

Supporting Real-Time Services in Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks
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Author(s): Carlos Tavares Calafate (Technical University of Valencia, Spain)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch578


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Mobile ad-hoc networks (MANETs) are well known by their flexibility and usefulness, being an ideal technology to support ubiquitous computing environments. Such environments are expected to support a plethora of applications, including real-time video and voice communications. In terms of applications, this technology can be used whenever there is a lack of infrastructure for support, which typically occurs in rescue missions, areas affected by natural disasters, remote areas, war scenarios, and also in the underground. The use of real-time voice and video communications could allow, for example, firemen rescue teams to communicate seamlessly and for the head officer to remotely supervise their activity using different video channels. The deployment of real-time services over mobile adhoc networks requires QoS (quality of service) support at different network layers. QoS support is understood as the network ability to offer some guarantees about the traffic being delivered. Within the scope of QoS we often define performance in terms of availability (uptime), bandwidth (throughput), latency (delay), delay jitter, and error rate. Offering QoS support in mobile ad-hoc network environments is, nevertheless, quite difficult due to the innate complexity of these networks. The problems that impact mobile ad-hoc networks can be split according to the network layer affected. At the physical layer, frequent topology changes?in conjunction with channel contention and unstable radio links?make real-time services support in such networks very hard to achieve (Georgiadis, Jacquet, & Mans, 2004). At the Medium Access Control (MAC) layer, channel access is typically distributed, provoking the well-known hidden and exposed node problems, which complicate bandwidth reservation. At the network layer, routing protocols have to deal with frequent topology changes and simultaneously discriminate among the available paths to meet QoS requirements. At the application layer, awareness of the type of networks and technologies being used allows applications to adapt themselves according to path conditions and so improve performance. This article discusses the aforementioned issues related to QoS challenges and solutions in mobile ad-hoc networks. It first includes some background information on the history of QoS support in computer networks. It then refers to the problematic of QoS support in mobile ad-hoc networks by referring MAC and routing layer solutions, along with QoS architectures for ad-hoc networks. To conclude the article there is reference to future trends in terms of QoS support in ad-hoc networks.

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