Outdoor Experimental Comparison of Four Ad Hoc Routing Algorithms

Robert S. Gray, Dartmouth College
David Kotz, Dartmouth College
Calvin Newport, Dartmouth College
Nikita Dubrovsky, Dartmouth College
Aaron Fiske, Dartmouth College
Jason Liu, Dartmouth College
Christopher Masone, Dartmouth College
Susan McGrath, Dartmouth College
Yougu Yuan, Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College Computer Science Technical Report TR2004-511


Most comparisons of wireless ad hoc routing algorithms involve simulated or indoor trial runs, or outdoor runs with only a small number of nodes, potentially leading to an incorrect picture of algorithm performance. In this paper, we report on the results of an outdoor trial run of four different routing algorithms, APRL, AODV, GPSR, and STARA, running on top of thirty-three 802.11-enabled laptops moving randomly through an athletic field. The laptops generated random traffic according to the traffic patterns observed in a prototype application, and ran each routing algorithm for a fifteen-minute period over the course of the hour-long trial run. The 33-laptop experiment represents one of the largest outdoor tests of wireless routing algorithms, and three of the algorithms each come from a different algorithmic class, providing insight into the behavior of ad hoc routing algorithms at larger real-world scales than have been considered so far. In addition, we compare the outdoor results with both indoor ("tabletop") and simulation results for the same algorithms, examining the differences between the indoor results and the outdoor reality. The paper also describes the software infrastructure that allowed us to implement the ad hoc routing algorithms in a comparable way, and use the same codebase for indoor, outdoor, and simulated trial runs.