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The ability of a mobile ad hoc network (MANET) to provide adequate quality of service (QoS) is limited by the ability of the underlying routing protocol to provide consistent behavior despite the inherent dynamics of a mobile computing environment. In this paper we study three MANET routing protocols: OLSR, DSR and AODV, with an emphasis on the effect they have on various QoS metrics. We describe and analyze how the protocols differ in the mechanisms they use to select paths, detect broken links, and buffer messages during periods of link outage. The effects of these differences are quantified in terms of packet delivery ratio, end-to-end hop count, end-to-end latency, and mechanism overhead. We show that the proactive protocol, OLSR, builds paths with consistently lower hop counts than the reactive protocols, AODV and DSR, a fact that leads to a reduction in end-to-end latency that assists a QoS model in meeting timing requirements and improves global network performance. We further show the impact of broken link detection latency on the packet delivery ratio. A routing protocol that can not quickly recover from link breakage caused by mobility renders a QoS model incapable of meeting delivery requirements. Finally, we analyze the effect of mobility on the distribution of end-to-end latencies. Traditionally, reactive protocols are criticized for buffering during the building of routes, however we also study buffering phenomenon caused by the proactive mechanisms of OLSR.
Date of Conference: 22-24 Aug. 2005