MANET

Stands for "Mobile Ad-Hoc Network."

A MANET is an ad-hoc network that connects a group of mobile devices together into a decentralized wireless mesh network. A MANET can move around, add and remove mobile devices, and reconfigure itself on the fly. These networks often use standard wireless technologies like Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth, although some specialized equipment uses UHF and VHF radio frequencies.

By using peer-to-peer networking instead of relying on a single master node, MANETs can distribute network traffic that might otherwise overload a centralized router. Every device is able to route traffic to its destination by sending it from one device to another. If any device in the mesh has an Internet connection, it can bridge traffic between the rest of the network and the Internet. This way, even if most devices are out of range of a cellular tower, they can still reach the Internet through the MANET.

However, distributed networks like MANETs have limitations. Data hopping between multiple nodes introduces a lot of latency and limits the speed data can travel. Constant network activity over a MANET also uses significant power, which can drain batteries on mobile devices faster than normal use. Even though MANETs have drawbacks, they are helpful in situations that benefit from their decentralized nature:

  • Vehicular ad-hoc networks (VANETs) allow certain vehicles to communicate wirelessly with each other and with roadside equipment.
  • Smartphone ad-hoc networks (SPANs) create a mesh between smartphones for communication when infrastructure (like existing Wi-Fi and cellular networks) is unavailable or overloaded. These networks are often used during large gatherings like conferences, music festivals, and even large-scale protests.
  • Rescue workers often use MANETs to coordinate activities during natural disasters when existing infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.
  • Military units can use MANETs for tactical wireless communication without relying on vulnerable infrastructure. Unmanned aerial vehicles can use MANETs to coordinate movements, and naval vessels can use ship-to-ship wireless networks that operate faster than satellite networks.
Updated January 30, 2023 by Brian P.

quizTest Your Knowledge

Which of the following statements about whole numbers is false?

A
They are all integers
0%
B
They must be greater than 0
0%
C
They include all natural numbers
0%
D
They continue to infinity
0%
Correct! Incorrect!     View the Whole Number definition.
More Quizzes →

The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

The definition of MANET on this page is an original definition written by the TechTerms.com team. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, please use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about this definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.