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Cellular network vs Ad Hoc network-Difference between Cellular network and Ad Hoc network

This page compares Cellular network vs Ad Hoc network and mentions difference between Cellular network and Ad Hoc network.

There are three types of wireless networks viz. infrastructure, hybrid and ad-hoc. Let us compare infrastructure based and infrastructureless network types.

Cellular network

cellular network

Currently deployed cellular wireless networks such as GSM/CDMA/LTE are infrastructure type. Cellular network consists of central entity known as base station and mobile devices as MSs (Mobile Subscribers). If MS-B wants to communicate with MS-C, communication happens via base station(BTS) as shown in the figure-1.

Before development of Cellular network users are served using very high power transmitter which used to cover range in Kms but at the cost of high power. Later on cellular networks consisting of many low power transmitters covering more subscribers within its coverage reach have been designed and developed. The main function of Cellular network is to increase more and more subscriber capacity. Due to low power transmitters, the area is divided into small cells, each served by one base station(i.e. BTS in GSM) each. All the base stations are connected in different topology configurations. These BTSs are connected with MSCs and other cellular infrastructure systems.

There are two types cells viz. Macrocell and microcell. Macrocell covers 1 to 20Km while Microcell covers 0.1 to 1 Km. Macrocell uses high power transmitters while microcell uses low power transmitters. Access techniques such as TDMA, FDMA and CDMA are mainly employed in order to enhance the supported capacity of subscribers in a cellular network. It is referred as single hopped system.
Refer Cellular communication tutorial➤.

Ad Hoc network

Ad Hoc network

The ad hoc networks operate of its own without the need of any infrastructure. They are called self organizing networks. It utilizes multi-hop radio relay concept and hence are known as multi-hopped networks. As there is no central entity such as base station, routing and resource management (i.e frequency) are complex compare to cellular network.

The cell boundary shown in figure-2 has no significance, it is just mentioned for representative purpose only. The communication between MS-A to MS-C goes through MS-D.
Examples: Mesh networks and WSN networks.
The nodes in ad hoc networks are very complex as they need to house transmitter, receiver and routing functionalities.
Refer WLAN Adhoc vs Infrastructure mode➤.

Following table compares Cellular network vs Ad Hoc network with respect to various system parameters.


Parameters Cellular network Ad Hoc network
Network routing Centralized, all the traffic goes through the Base Station Distributed, No centralized system such as Base station needed
Switching Type Circuit Switching Packet Switching
Number of Hops single hop type Multiple hops
Topology Star Mesh
Application Designed and developed for voice traffic Designed to meet best effort data traffic requirements
Cost and time for installation Higher cost and takes more time for deployment Lower cost and does not take more time for deployment
Call drops Low call drops during mobility due to seamless connectivity across region Higher breaks in the path during mobility
Network maintenance requires periodic maintenance and hence it is costly. nodes are self organising and hence it is less costly.
Frequency re-use It utilizes same frequency channels in the nearby cells with proper RF planning and antenna placement. This is known as static frequency re-use. Dynamic frequency re-use is employed using carrier sense mechanism.
Bandwidth (BW) mechanism The allocation of BW is guaranteed and easy. The allocation of BW is based on shared channel using complex MAC algorithms.
Technologies IS-95, IS-136, GSM, Mobile WiMAX, CDMA, LTE WLAN 802.11e

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