Extensions for Multicast in Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (XMMAN): The Reduction of Data Overhead in Wireless Multicast Trees

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Virginia Tech


Mobile Ad hoc Network (MANET) routing protocols are designed to provide connectivity between wireless mobile nodes that do not have access to high-speed backbone networks. While many unicast MANET protocols have been explored, research involving multicast protocols has been limited. Existing multicast algorithms attempt to reduce routing overhead, but few, if any, attempt to reduce data overhead.

The broadcast nature of wireless communication creates a unique environment in which overlaps in coverage are common. When designed properly, a multicast algorithm can take advantage of these overlaps and reduce data overhead. Unlike a unicast route, in which there is one path between a sender and receiver, a multicast tree can have multiple branches between the sender and its multiple receivers. Some of these paths can be combined to reduce redundant data rebroadcasts.

The extensions presented in this thesis are a combination of existing and original routing techniques that were designed to reduce data rebroadcasts by aggregating multicast data flows. One such optimization takes advantage of the multipoint relay (MPR) nodes used by the Optimized Link State Routing (OLSR) unicast protocol. These nodes are used in unicast routing to reduce network broadcast, but can be used to help create efficient multicast data flows. Additionally, by listening to routing messages meant for other nodes, a host can learn a bit about its network and may be able to make routing changes that improve the multicast tree.

This protocol was implemented as a software router in Linux. It should be emphasized that this is a real implementation and not a simulation. Experiments showed that the number of data packets in the network could be reduced by as much as 19 percent. These improvements were accomplished while using only a small amount of routing overhead.



Mobile Wireless Network, Multicast, MANET, Mobile Ad-Hoc Network