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In this paper, we propose a novel on-demand routing protocol called backup source routing (BSR) to establish and maintain backup routes that can be utilized after the primary path breaks. The key advantage of BSR is the reduction of the frequency of route discovery flooding, which is recognized as a major overhead in on-demand protocols. We define a new routing metric, called the route reliability, and use it to provide the basis for the backup path selection. We use a heuristic cost function to develop an analytical model and an approximation method to measure this metric. Various algorithms for our BSR protocol in the route discovery phase and route maintenance phase have been designed based on this cost function. Extensive simulations demonstrated that our routing strategy has two interesting features: 1) in less stressful situations of lower mobility, BSR has similar performance to DSR, 2) in more challenging situations of high mobility, BSR can improve the performance significantly.