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In most of existing performance evaluations of ad hoc routing protocol, connectivity is not considered properly. To solve this problem, a new concept of network coverage density is adopted in study of ad hoc networking, which reflects the communication ability of nodes and the connectivity of ad hoc network. On this base, the relationship between the performance of topology-based MANET routing protocol and network coverage density is researched. Simulation shows that, the packet delivery radio heightens with the increment of network coverage density, and they form an inerratic S curve. By the definition of minimal network coverage density, a judgment criterion for applicability of routing protocol is provided in the process of ad hoc networking.