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Because it is difficult and costly to conduct real-world mobile ad hoc network experiments, researchers commonly rely on computer simulation to evaluate their routing protocols. However, simulation is far from perfect. A growing number of studies indicate that simulated results can be dramatically affected by several sensitive simulation parameters. It is also commonly noted that most simulation models make simplifying assumptions about radio behavior. This situation casts doubt on the reliability and applicability of many ad hoc network simulation results.
In this study, we begin with a large outdoor routing experiment testing the performance of four popular ad hoc algorithms (AODV, APRL, ODMRP, and STARA). We present a detailed comparative analysis of these four implementations. Then, using the outdoor results as a baseline of reality, we disprove a set of common assumptions used in simulation design, and quantify the impact of these assumptions on simulated results. We also more specifically validate a group of popular radio models with our real-world data, and explore the sensitivity of various simulation parameters in predicting accurate results. We close with a series of specific recommendations for simulation and ad hoc routing protocol designers.
Senior Honors Thesis. Advisor: David Kotz.
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Calvin Newport, "Simulating mobile ad hoc networks: a quantitative evaluation of common MANET simulation models." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2004-504, June 2004.
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