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Congestion is one of the most important restrictions of wireless ad hoc networks. Most of the existing ad hoc routing protocols take no account of the congestion factor. It results in long delay, high overhead and low throughput. These problems are solved by the congestion-aware routing protocols in certain degree. In this paper, we study the congestion metrics and route mechanisms of three congestion-aware routing protocols, CARM, CARA, and CADV, and analyze and compare the performance of them. Finally, the future direction of congestion-aware routing protocols is presented.