MANET and WSN: Similarities and Differences

BPB Online
2 min readFeb 23, 2021


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 that 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

  1. Both are infrastructure-less, distributed wireless networks
  2. Routing Techniques are more or less the same
  3. Both are Ad-hoc networks
  4. Topology can change over a period
  5. Nodes can be operated on a battery
  6. Both wireless channels use unlicensed spectrum (cause of interference)

What makes them different?

  1. The data rate of MANETs is more than WSN
  2. The number of nodes in the WSN is more than MANETs
  3. Mobility is very high in MANETs(since nodes are less) than WSN
  4. Sensor nodes of WSN are generally static and cooperate together to transfer the sensed data
  5. Sensor nodes usually consume less energy than MANET’s nodes
  6. MANETs are usually close to civilization
  7. Public-key cryptography is used in MANETs whereas symmetric key cryptography used in WSNs for security purposes
  8. Compared to MANETs, WSNs are smaller, more powerful, and more memory-constrained
  9. Mostly, MANETs are used for distributed computing whereas WSNs are used for information gathering from the environment
  10. WSNs are more prone to failures than MANETs

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