ALERT: An Anonymous Location-Based Efficient Routing Protocol in MANETs

ALERT: An Anonymous Location-Based Efficient Routing Protocol in MANETs


Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs) use anonymous routing protocols that hide node identities and/or routes from outside observers in order to provide anonymity protection. However, existing anonymous routing protocols relying on either hop-by-hop encryption or redundant traffic either generate high cost or cannot provide full anonymity protection to data sources, destinations, and routes. The high cost exacerbates the inherent resource constraint problem in MANETs especially in multimedia wireless applications. To offer high anonymity protection at a low cost, we propose an Anonymous Location-based Efficient Routing protocol (ALERT). ALERT dynamically partitions the network field into zones and randomly chooses nodes in zones as intermediate relay nodes, which form a nontraceable anonymous route. In addition, it hides the data initiator/receiver among many initiators/receivers to strengthen source and destination anonymity protection. Thus, ALERT offers anonymity protection to sources, destinations, and routes. It also has strategies to effectively counter intersection and timing attacks. We theoretically analyze ALERT in terms of anonymity and efficiency. Experimental results exhibit consistency with the theoretical analysis, and show that ALERT achieves better route anonymity protection and lower cost compared to other anonymous routing protocols. Also, ALERT achieves comparable routing efficiency to the GPSR geographical routing protocol.

PROJECT OUTPUT VIDEO: (Click the below link to see the project output video):


Anonymous routing protocols are crucial in MANETs to provide secure communications by hiding node identities and preventing traffic analysis attacks from outside observers. Anonymity in MANETs includes identity and location anonymity of data sources (i.e., senders) and destinations (i.e., recipients), as well as route anonymity. “Identity and location anonymity of sources and destinations” means it is hard if possible for other nodes to obtain the real identities and exact locations of the sources and destinations. For route anonymity, adversaries, either enroute or out of the route, cannot trace a packet flow back to its source or destination, and no node have information about the real identities and locations of intermediate nodes enroute. Also, in order to dissociate the relationship between source and destination (i.e., relationship unobservability, it is important to form an anonymous path between the two endpoints and ensure that nodes en route do not know where the endpoints are, especially in MANETs where location devices may be equipped.


  • Ø The current approaches are limited by focusing on enforcing anonymity at a heavy cost to precious resources because public-key-based encryption and high traffic generate significantly high cost.
  • Ø Many approaches cannot provide all of the aforementioned anonymity protections
  • Ø ALARM cannot protect the location anonymity of source and destination, SDDR cannot provide route anonymity, and ZAP only focuses on destination anonymity
  • Ø Existing anonymous routing protocols generate a significantly high cost, which exacerbates the resource constraint problem in MANETs. In a MANET employing a high-cost anonymous routing in a battlefield, a low quality of service in voice and video data transmission due to depleted resources may lead to disastrous delay in military operations.


In order to provide high anonymity protection (for sources, destination, and route) with low cost, we propose an Anonymous Location-based and Efficient Routing proTocol (ALERT). ALERT dynamically partitions a network field into zones and randomly chooses nodes in zones as intermediate relay nodes, which form a nontraceable anonymous route. Specifically, in each routing step, a data sender or forwarder partitions the network field in order to separate itself and the destination into two zones. It then randomly chooses a node in the other zone as the next relay node and uses the GPSR algorithm to send the data to the relay node. In the last step, the data is broadcasted to k nodes in the destination zone, providing k-anonymity to the destination. In addition, ALERT has a strategy to hide the data initiator among a number of initiators to strengthen the anonymity protection of the source. ALERT is also resilient to intersection attacks and timing attacks. We theoretically analyzed ALERT in terms of anonymity and efficiency. We also conducted experiments to evaluate the performance of ALERT in comparison with other anonymity and geographic routing protocols.


  • Ø ALERT provides route anonymity, identity, and location anonymity of source and destination
  • Ø Rather than relying on hop-by-hop encryption and redundant traffic, ALERT mainly uses randomized routing of one message copy to provide anonymity protection.
  • Ø ALERT can also avoid timing attacks because of its nonfixed routing paths for a source destination pair.
  • Ø We conducted comprehensive experiments to evaluate ALERT’s performance in comparison with other anonymous protocols



  • System        :  Pentium IV 2.4 GHz.
  • Hard Disk   : 40 GB.
  • Monitor      : 15 inch VGA Colour.
  • Mouse         : Logitech Mouse.
  • Ram            : 512 MB
  • Keyboard    : Standard Keyboard


v   Operating System          : LINUX

v   Tool                               : Network Simulator-2

v   Front End                      : OTCL (Object Oriented Tool Command  Language)



Haiying Shen,Member, IEEE, and Lianyu Zhao, Student Member, IEEE “ALERT: An Anonymous Location-Based Efficient Routing Protocol in MANETs”- IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MOBILE COMPUTING, VOL. 12, NO. 6, JUNE 2013.


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