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In this paper an information-theoretic formulation is used for characterizing the minimum overhead of maintaining link state information across a mobile ad hoc network. The minimum overhead problem is formulated a rate-distortion problem. Lower bounds are derived for the minimum overhead incurred by maintaining link state information when link state routing protocols are designed with guaranteed delivery ratio for data packets. The deficit caused by the this overhead on the overall transport capacity of a mobile network is characterized. Further a threshold value is derived for the delivery error ratio, and it is shown that no link state routing protocol can achieve a delivery error ratio smaller than this threshold.