DARPA seeks new ideas for mobile ad hoc networks

Would bypass Internet limitations, expand mobile network 20 times
May 2, 2013

MANETs (credit: DARPA)

Troops operating in forward locations without telecommunication infrastructure often rely on a mobile ad hoc network (MANET) to communicate and share data.

The communication devices  double as nodes on the mobile network. But the network can only scale to around 50 nodes before network services become ineffective.

So DARPA is looking for revolutionary new ideas for technologies unencumbered by Internet Protocols (IP) that could be the key to enabling large MANETs to get around Internet limitations.

“A MANET of a thousand nodes could support an entire battalion without the need for manual network setup, management and maintenance that comes from ‘switchboard’-era communications,” said Mark Rich, DARPA Program Manager. “This could provide more troops with robust services such as real-time video imagery, enhanced situational awareness and other services that we have not yet imagined.”

A DARPA Request for Information  (RFI) calls for research paper abstracts describing bold, new technical approaches to overcoming the MANET scaling problem. DARPA intends to select innovative and promising concepts to be presented as papers at a symposium entitled, “Novel Methods for Information Sharing in Large-Scale Mobile Ad Hoc Networks,” Aug. 7–8, 2013, at the DARPA Conference Center.