As a result of recent significant technological advances, a new computing and communication environment, Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANET), is about to enter the mainstream. A multitude of critical aspects, including mobility, severe limitations and limited reliability, create a new set of crucial issues and trade-offs that must be carefully taken into account in the design of robust and efficient algorithms for these environments. The communication among mobile hosts is one among the many issues that need to be resolved efficiently before MANET becomes a commodity.
In this paper, we propose to discuss the communication problem in MANET as well as present some characteristic techniques for the design, the analysis and the performance evaluation of distributed communication protocols for mobile ad hoc networks. More specifically, we propose to review two different design techniques. While the first type of protocols tries to create and maintain routing paths among the hosts, the second set of protocols uses a randomly moving subset of the hosts that acts as an intermediate pool for receiving and delivering messages. We discuss the main design choices for each approach, along with performance analysis of selected protocols.