Scalability of Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Scalability of Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Dan Grigoras (University College Cork, Ireland), Daniel C. Doolan (Robert Gordon University, UK) and Sabin Tabirca (University College Cork, Ireland)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-661-7.ch030
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This chapter addresses scalability aspects of mobile ad hoc networks management and clusters built on top of them. Mobile ad hoc networks are created by mobile devices without the help of any infrastructure for the purpose of communication and service sharing. As a key supporting service, the management of mobile ad hoc networks is identified as an important aspect of their exploitation. Obviously, management must be simple, effective, consume least of resources, reliable and scalable. The first section of this chapter discusses different incarnations of the management service of mobile ad hoc networks considering the above mentioned characteristics. Cluster computing is an interesting computing paradigm that, by aggregation of network hosts, provides more resources than available on each of them. Clustering mobile and heterogeneous devices is not an easy task as it is proven in the second part of the chapter. Both sections include innovative solutions for the management and clustering of mobile ad hoc networks, proposed by the authors.
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In this chapter, we discuss the concept of scalability applied to Mobile Ad hoc NETworks (MANET). MANETs are temporarily formed networks of mobile devices without the support of any infrastructure. One of the most important characteristics of MANETs is the unpredictable evolution of their configuration. The number of member nodes within a MANET can vary immensely over a short time interval, from tens to thousands and vice-versa. Therefore, the scalability of network formation and management, mobile middleware and applications is a key factor in evaluating the overall MANET effectiveness.

The large diversity and high penetration of mobile wireless devices make their networking a very important aspect of their use. By self-organizing in mobile ad hoc networks, heterogeneous devices can communicate, share their resources and services and run new and more complex distributed applications. Mobile applications such as multiplayer games, personal health monitoring, emergency and rescue, vehicular nets and control of home/office networks illustrate the potential of mobile ad hoc networks. However, the complexity of these networks brings new challenges regarding the management of heterogeneity, mobility, communication and scarcity of resources that all have an impact on scalability.

The scalability property of complex distributed systems does not have a general definition and evaluation strategy. Within the realm of MANET, scalability can refer to several aspects, from performance at the application layer to the way scarce resources are consumed. One example is the case where the mobile system is not scalable if batteries’ energy is exhausted by demanding management operations. A mobile middleware service is not scalable if it does not meet the mobile clients’ requirements with similar performance, irrespective of their number or mobility patterns.

All current MANET deployments or experiments involve a small number of devices, at most of the order of few tens, but, in the future, hundreds, thousands or even more devices will congregate and run the same application(s). Therefore it is essential to consider the strategies by which scalability will be provided to the network and application layers such that any number of devices and clients will be accommodated with the same performance. When used, mobile middleware systems will also be required to be scalable.

Following, the most important aspects of scalability with regard to mobile ad hoc networks will be reviewed considering how MANET can be managed cost-effectively and how an important application of large distributed systems, clustering, can be implemented in a scalable manner on MANET.

This chapter is organized as follows. The first Section discusses the management service of mobile ad hoc networks and innovative means for making it a scalable service. The rapid change of MANET membership impacts on the node address management. Additionally, frequent operations as split and merge require address management as well. Therefore, MANET management is mostly the management of node addresses.

As potentially large networks, MANET can be used as the infrastructure that supports mobile cluster computing. Consequently, the second section is dedicated to cluster computing on MANET and its related scalability issues.

Key Terms in this Chapter

MANET: Mobile ad hoc network, a temporarily created network by mobile devices without any infrastructure support.

IP: The Internet Protocol is a data communication protocol used on packet-switched networks.

Net_id: The mobile ad hoc network identity created by the mobile host which organizes it. It is soft variable that is valid only as long as the network is active.

MMPI: The Mobile Message Passing Interface is a library designed to run on a Bluetooth piconet network. It facilitates application development of parallel programs, parallel graphics applications, multiplayer games and handheld multi-user mLearning applications.

IEEE 802.11x (WiFi): A set of standards defined by IEEE for wireless local area networks.

Bluetooth: An RF based, wireless communications technology that has very low power requirements making it a suitable system for energy conscious mobile devices. The JSR-82 Bluetooth API facilitates the development of Java based Bluetooth applications.

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