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What is the difference between adhoc network and wireless network?

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A wireless sensor networks (WSN), or better a mesh WSN, usually consists of one sink (or base station) able to manage all the communications between other nodes. This kind of network has fixed routes, excepting when there are nodes' failures. Thus, the base station (or, again, router if the WSN works up to the network level rather than link level) determines and optimizes the paths of communication in the network. Instances of WSNs are networks monitoring a bridge, the temperature in several parts of a city (although this case is more complex due to the big area to monitor) or an ancient monument.
A mobile ad-hoc network (MANET) even is a WSN if its scope is that of sensing the environment around the network. However, the words "mobile" and "ad-hoc" are often used to refer to all those networks consising of nodes continuously moving in any direction (for this reason the word mobile). Consequently, this kind of network must repeatedly reconfigure its routes. All this work is done by every node in the network since MANET doesn't have a fixed central controller (for this reason the word ad-hoc). Furthermore, this kind of networks usually uses different devices with respect to other WSNs because the management of energy and communications is totally different. Examples of MANETs are networks formed by devices installed within cars (VANET) to monitor accidents, traffic and so on, or a network consisting of drones.


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