An ad hoc network is a network that doesn't have any central administration and consists of mobile nodes that use a wireless interface to send packet data. This mobile, wireless and multi-hop network allows devices establishing communication anytime and anywhere without any fixed infrastructure. In the absence of fixed infrastructure, nodes should cooperate in order to forward packets on behalf of other nodes and run user applications. In this dynamic environment the network functions must run in a distributed fashion, since nodes might suddenly appear or disappear within the network. In terms of price, portability and usability many computing and communication devices, such as PDAs, laptops and mobile phones, already possess the attributes that are desirable. These devices are battery-driven. Therefore the power budget is tight for all communication-related functions. Current activities concern:
- The automatic configuration of IP addresses. It aims to provide ad hoc nodes with unique IP addresses. Due to the mobility of nodes, different networks can overlap, and nodes with the same address can accidentally get in contact. The protocol developed offers an innovative management of merging among different networks or partitions in the network. Moreover a version for NS2 simulator of an auto-configuring protocol, called AIPAC (Automatic IP Address Configuration) has been implemented;
- Middleware for Disaster Recovery environment. The reference scenario regards natural disasters where rescue units and civil Institute have to give the necessary supports. The aim is to carry out a communication platform which is independent from the type of devices in the network and from the under routing protocol. Moreover, that platform has to suit audio/video streaming services, for a more efficient rescue work. Therefore, a further objective is to implement a middleware layer for the management of the search and rescue operations in a disaster-recovery environment;
- Internet connectivity. Users in an ad hoc network could benefit of Internet services if at least one node of the network is near to an Access Point. For this purpose, the plan is to combine Cellular IP-based architecture with well-known ad hoc routing protocol.