A MANET is a mobile ad-hoc network that contains wireless links and nodes. It is an infrastructure-less network, and it can change its topology and configure itself on the fly, it can communicate via multiple hops. Whereas a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) is a set of spatially distributed and dedicated sensors which are interlinked via the wireless medium for monitoring and recording the physical conditions of the environment and organizing the collected data at a central location.
Let’s look at the similarities between MANET and WSN
- Both are infrastructure-less, distributed wireless networks
- Routing Techniques are more or less same
- Both are Ad-hoc networks
- Topology can change over a period
- Nodes can be operated on battery
- Both wireless channels use unlicensed spectrum (cause of interference)
What makes them different?
- The data rate of MANETs is more than WSN
- Number of nodes in the WSN is more than MANETs
- Mobility is very high in MANETs(since nodes are less) than WSN
- Sensor nodes of WSN are normally static and cooperate together to transfer the sensed data
- Sensor nodes usually consume less energy than MANET’s nodes
- MANETs are usually close to civilization
- Public-key cryptography is used in MANETs whereas symmetric key cryptography used in WSNs for security purposes
- Compared to MANETs, WSNs are smaller, more powerful and more memory-constrained
- Mostly, MANETs are used for distributed computing whereas WSNs are used for information gathering from the environment
- WSNs are more prone to failures than MANETs
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