Multicasting is an efficient means of one to many communication and is typically implemented by creating a multicasting tree. Because of the severe battery power and transmission bandwidth limitations in ad hoc networks, multicast routing can significantly improve the performance of this type of network. However, due to the frequent and hard-to-predict topological changes of ad hoc networks, maintenance of a multicasting tree to ensure its availability could be a difficult task. We borrow from the concept of Alternate Path routing, which has been studied for providing QOS routing, effective congestion control, security, and route failure protection, to propose a scheme in which a set of multicasting trees is continuously maintained. In our scheme, a tree is used until it fails, at which time it is replaced by an alternative tree in the set, so that the time between failure of a tree and resumption of multicast routing is minimal. In this paper, we introduce the basic scheme, termed ITAMAR, which is a framework for efficient multicasting in ad hoc networks. We present a number of heuristics that could be used in ITAMAR to compute a set of alternate trees. The heuristics are then compared in terms of transmission cost, improvement in the average time between multicast failures and the probability of usefulness. Simulations show significant gains over a wide range of network operational conditions. In particular, we show that using alternate trees has the potential of improving mean time between interruption by 100–600% in a 50 node network (for most multicast group sizes) with small increase in the tree cost and the route discovery overhead. We show that by renewing the backup tree set, probability of interruptions can be kept at a minimum at all times and that allowing some overlap among trees in the backup set increases the mean time between interruptions.
multicasting ad hoc networks multicasting tree independent trees route stability