Unlike traditional wireless networks, characterized by the presence of last-mile, static and reliable infrastructures, Mobile ad Hoc Networks (MANETs) are dynamically formed by collections of mobile and static terminals that exchange data by enabling each other's communication. Supporting multi-hop communication in a MANET is a challenging research area because it requires cooperation between different protocol layers (MAC, routing, transport). In particular, MAC and routing protocols could be considered mutually cooperative protocol layers. When a route is established, the exposed and hidden terminal problems at MAC layer may decrease the end-to-end performance proportionally with the length of each route. Conversely, the contention at MAC layer may cause a routing protocol to respond by initiating new routes queries and routing table updates. Multi-hop communication may also benefit the presence of pseudo-centralized virtual infrastructures obtained by grouping nodes into clusters. Clustering structures may facilitate the spatial reuse of resources by increasing the system capacity: at the same time, the clustering hierarchy may be used to coordinate transmissions events inside the network and to support intra-cluster routing schemes. Again, MAC and clustering protocols could be considered mutually cooperative protocol layers: the clustering scheme could support MAC layer coordination among nodes, by shifting the distributed MAC paradigm towards a pseudo-centralized MAC paradigm. On the other hand, the system benefits of the clustering scheme could be emphasized by the pseudo-centralized MAC layer with the support for differentiated access priorities and controlled contention. In this thesis, we propose cross-layer solutions involving joint design of MAC, clustering and routing protocols in MANETs. As main contribution, we study and analyze the integration of MAC and clustering schemes to support multi-hop communication in large-scale ad hoc networks. A novel clustering protocol, named Availability Clustering (AC), is defined under general nodes' heterogeneity assumptions in terms of connectivity, available energy and relative mobility. On this basis, we design and analyze a distributed and adaptive MAC protocol, named Differentiated Distributed Coordination Function (DDCF), whose focus is to implement adaptive access differentiation based on the node roles, which have been assigned by the upper-layer's clustering scheme. We extensively simulate the proposed clustering scheme by showing its effectiveness in dominating the network dynamics, under some stressing mobility models and different mobility rates. Based on these results, we propose a possible application of the cross-layer MAC+Clustering scheme to support the fast propagation of alert messages in a vehicular environment. At the same time, we investigate the integration of MAC and routing protocols in large scale multi-hop ad-hoc networks. A novel multipath routing scheme is proposed, by extending the AOMDV protocol with a novel load-balancing approach to concurrently distribute the traffic among the multiple paths. We also study the composition effect of a IEEE 802.11-based enhanced MAC forwarding mechanism called Fast Forward (FF), used to reduce the effects of self-contention among frames at the MAC layer. The protocol framework is modelled and extensively simulated for a large set of metrics and scenarios. For both the schemes, the simulation results reveal the benefits of the cross-layer MAC+routing and MAC+clustering approaches over single-layer solutions.
M. D. Felice
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