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In new applications of mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), nodes may decide not to cooperate in routing protocols in order to save their limited resources while still using the network to relay their own traffic. Exhibiting such a selfish behavior by even a few nodes may degrade network performance and other cooperating nodes may find themselves unfairly loaded. To cope with such a situation, we propose a stable path, low overhead, truthful, and cost efficient (SLTC) routing protocol which stimulates nodes to cooperate and act truthfully by utilizing the game theoretic notion of mechanism design. To the best of our knowledge, SLTC is the first protocol attaining the message complexity of O(nd), where n is the number of nodes, and d is the network diameter. In addition, SLTC considers stability of the paths in order to deal with the mobility of the nodes in a better way. We evaluated SLTC through simulation in terms of packet delivery ratio, end-to-end delay, traffic overhead and energy consumption. SLTC can achieve more than 80% packet delivery ratio. Compared to ad hoc-VCG which is one of the best known methods in this area, the packet delivery ratio is increased by a factor of 9 along with a reduction in the end-to-end delay, the traffic overhead, and the energy consumption respectively by a factor of 22, 7, and 3.