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Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-18-027    Date:  January 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-18-027
Date: January 2018


Exploratory Advanced Research Program

FHWA White Paper On Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

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Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

FHWA White Paper on Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

5. Report Date

January 2018

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Michael Green, Anthony Thomas, Alan Chachich, Walton Fehr, and Nate Deshmukh Towery

8. Performing Organization Report No.


9. Performing Organization Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

Contract DTFH61-14-V-00025

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Federal Highway Administration
Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report
January 3, 2016–July 5, 2016

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

The Contracting Officer’s Representative was Jim Shurbutt (HRTM-30), and the Technical Contact was David Kuehn (HRTM-30).

16. Abstract

Advanced next generation communications technologies offer the potential to greatly improve safety, system efficiency, and mobility across our Nation’s roadways. These new technologies and processes can address both traditionally difficult as well as entirely new challenges facing the transportation sector by expanding on available solutions, offering more sophisticated approaches, and creating new opportunities. This white paper explores Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs): a unique next-generation technology that can serve as a supplement or an alternative to traditional physical infrastructure-based wireless communications. MANETs are fluid, movable wireless networks that can form independently on an as-needed basis and do not require any fixed networking infrastructure to operate. As connectivity and communication become more vital to transportation needs, there is a tremendous opportunity for the use of MANETs in this field.

The goal of the white paper is to provide a background on how MANETs work and how they can potentially address the transportation needs of tomorrow. It begins by describing the current state of practice for MANETs and their current use in transportation applications. The paper also sets out to describe potential benefits and challenges associated with MANETs and offers potential transportation use-cases which justify further research into wider, transportation-based applications.

17. Key Words

Mobile ad hoc networks, vehicular ad hoc networks, cognitive radio, cognitive networks, self-organizing networks, self-forming networks, software-defined networks, mesh networks, opportunistic networks, sensor networks, spectrum loading, spectrum sharing, spectrum testing, smart cities, connected communities, Internet of Things

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)


20. Security Classification
(of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Technology Overview

Classes of MANETs

Technology Landscape Assessment


Appendix A. About the EAR Program

Appendix B. MANET Use-Cases



List of Figures

Figure 1. Illustration. Next-generation wireless communication environment: Non-fixed infrastructure MANET consisting of computers


List of Abbreviations

5G fifth generation of mobile technology
AODV ad hoc on-demand distance vector
CIA confidentiality, integrity, or availability
COTS commercial off-the-shelf
DSA dynamic spectrum access
DSR dynamic source routing
DSRC dedicated short range communication
DTN delay/disruption tolerant network
EAR Exploratory Advanced Research
FANET flying ad hoc network
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
HetNets heterogeneous networks
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ITS intelligent transportation system
IoT internet of things
LTE long term evolution
LTE-A long term evolution – advanced
MANET mobile ad hoc network
OLSR optimized link state routing
OppNets opportunistic networks
QoS quality of service
UAV unmanned aerial vehicle
USDOT U.S. Department of Transportation
UWB ultra wide band
V2I vehicle-to-infrastructure
V2V vehicle-to-vehicle
V2X vehicle-to-everything
VANET vehicular ad hoc network
WPAN wireless personal area network



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