Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science


Computer Science

First Advisor

Aidan McDonald


A wireless ad-hoc network is a collection of autonomous nodes or terminals that communicate with each other by forming a multi-hop radio network and maintaining connectivity in a decentralised manner. In an ad hoc network routing is used to find and maintain a path through the network. Routing requires each node to have a unique identifier, to ensure that packets sent to a particular node reach their intended destination. Most ad-hoc routing protocols assume that a node already has an address prior to its entry into a network and so the issue of address assignment is largely ignored. This however restricts the dynamic nature of an ad hoc network as it introduces an element of centralised control; a dynamic approach to the assignment of addresses is required.

In the wired environment a number of different methods can be used to dynamically assign an address. The Internet Protocol (IP) is the most popular network layer communication protocol used in the wired environment and requires each node in the network to be configured with a unique IP address. A number of approaches are used to dynamically assign IP addresses in the wired environment, such as the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Mobile IP and IPv6 Stateless Address Autoconfiguration. Problems exist however when these approaches are applied to an ad-hoc networks. As a result, a number of approaches for dynamic address assignment within mobile ad hoc networks have been proposed.

This study presents a classification of the various approaches for address assignment within an ad-hoc network. The various approaches are classified into two different categories, stateful and stateless. In order to evaluate the various approaches a simulation environment was developed. Using this simulation environment, a number of the address assignment approaches are analysed using various simulation scenarios. Based on the analysis of the results obtained from these simulations, various modifications are proposed to the different approaches in order to improve their performance and functionality.


Submitted to the Higher Education & Training Awards Council, July 2004

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