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Differences between Wireless Adhoc Network and Wireless Sensor Network

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1. Wireless Adhoc Network: A wireless ad-hoc network is a wireless network deployed without any framework or infrastructure. This incorporates wireless mesh networks, mobile ad-hoc networks, and vehicular ad-hoc networks. Its history could be traced back to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and Packet Radio Networks (PRNET) which evolved into the Survival Adaptive Radio Networks (SARNET) program. Wireless ad-hoc networks, in particular mobile ad-hoc networks (MANET), are growing very fast as they make communication simpler and progressively accessible. In any case, their conventions or protocols will in general be hard to structure due to topology dependent behavior of wireless communication, and their distribution and adaptive operations to topology dynamism. They are allowed to move self-assertively at any time. So, the network topology of MANET may change randomly and rapidly at unpredictable times. This makes routing difficult because the topology is continually changing and nodes cannot be expected to have steady data storage. 


  1. Data Mining
  2. Military battlefield
  3. Commercial Sector
  4. Personal area network or Bluetooth

2. Wireless Sensor Network: A wireless sensor network can be characterized as a system of devices, indicated as nodes that can detect the environment and impart the data accumulated from the monitored field (e.g., a zone or volume) through remote or wireless connections. It can be depicted as a system of nodes that agreeably sense and may control the environment enabling association between people or computers and the surrounding environment. The information is sent, possibly through different jumps, to a sink (indicated as a controller or monitor) that can utilize it locally or is associated with different systems (e.g., The Internet) through a portal. The nodes can be fixed or moved. 


  1. Environmental Monitoring
  2. Health Care
  3. Positioning and Monitoring

Differences between Wireless Adhoc Networks and Wireless Sensor Networks are as follows:

Wireless Adhoc NetworkWireless Sensor Network
The medium used in wireless ad-hoc networks is radio waves.The medium used in wireless sensor networks is radio waves, infrared, and optical media.
Application independent network is used.The application-dependent network is used.
Hop-to-Hop routing takes place.Query-based (data-centric routing) or location-based routing takes place.
It is heterogeneous in type.It is homogeneous in type.
The traffic pattern is point-to-point.The traffic pattern is any-to-any, many-to-one, many-to-few, and one-to-many.
Wireless router is used as an inter-connecting device.Application level gateway is used as an interconnecting device.
The data rate is high.The data rate is low.
Supports common services.Supports specific applications.
Traffic triggering depends on application needs.Triggered by sensing events.
IP address is used for addressing.Local unique MAC address or spatial IP is used for addressing.
  Network Type Peer-to-PeerNetwork type Hierarchical or Mesh
Nodes Can be any wireless deviceNodes Limited to sensor nodes
Communication Range Variable depends on node placementCommunication Range Limited by the sensor node’s transmission power
Communication Range Standard network protocols (TCP/IP)Communication Range Customized protocols for efficient data transfer and low energy consumption
Data Type General data (voice, video, files, etc.)Data Type Sensor data (temperature, humidity, light, etc.)
Power Consumption Can be high due to constant communicationPower Consumption Designed to minimize energy consumption to extend network lifetime
Security Security protocols can be implementedSecurity Security protocols are critical as sensor data can be sensitive
Applications General wireless communicationApplications  Environmental monitoring, industrial automation, home automation, etc.
Deployment Can be deployed in any environmentDeployment Typically deployed in remote or hard-to-reach locations, such as forests, oceans, or industrial sites.

Last Updated : 20 Mar, 2023
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