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A "mobile ad hoc network" is an autonomous system of mobile hosts connected by wireless links. The nodes are free to move randomly and organize themselves arbitrarily; thus, the network's wireless topology may change rapidly and unpredictably. Such a network may operate in a standalone fashion, or may be connected to the larger Internet. The performance of such networks was evaluated based on simulations. In this paper, we evaluate the practicality of realizing an ad-hoc wireless network and investigate on performance issues. We have tried to simulate three different architectures for wireless networks and compare their performance based on a number of factors. This study centers on investigating the best architecture for ad hoc networks. We have used ns-2 for all our simulations. In all our simulations, we have tried to quantify the effects of factors like cluster size, routing protocols, mobility patterns and type of traffic, that affect the performance of ad hoc networks. Specifically, this paper evaluates the impact of these factors on the following performance metrics: throughput, average routing overhead, packet delivery ratio, and end-to-end delay across the three different architectures.