Until the completion of implementation, the ICT director informed me that the questions I was posing were irrelevant. They were irrelevant because they were related to operational automatic network management systems, currently not in place in our organization.Accordingly, the information collected from the ICT director, and which determined the direction of this report, centered around the management of wireless ad hoc networks and policy-based management frameworks.In designing and deciding upon a wireless ad hoc network management system, it is important to keep an eye on the desirable operational features sought in a management system for deployment in a wireless ad hoc network environment. These features, as elucidated by the ICT director and supported in the literature on the topic, are discussed below.According to Tian and Cox (2004), any network management system involves a certain amount of additional control traffic to regulate the various operational characteristics of the network. In bandwidth-constrained wireless networks, it is extremely important to minimize this signaling overhead, ensuring that the links are not congested with management traffic. Thus, as Cardei, Cardei and Du (2005) emphasize, the constrained bandwidth in wireless ad hoc networks greatly influences the choice of the mechanisms or protocols used for the various managerial tasks.Ad hoc networks generally have nodes with limited battery life, and may have limited storage and/or processing capabilities (Zhang, Hu and Fujisu, 2006). Hence, as emphasized by the ICT director, the organization needs a management system that does not burden the resource-limited network nodes with undue storage and processing requirements. Efficient signaling and minimal computation requirements will substantially alleviate the demand on the limited battery power.
2.3 Automated, Intelligent and Self-Organizing
The ability for self-organization is one of the key aspects in the successful deployment of any application in an ad hoc network environment. Indeed, as our ICT Director stressed, given the dynamic nature of most ad hoc networks, an adaptive management framework that automatically reacts to changes in network conditions is required. In order to accomplish this, the management system should be able to automatically learn about the diverse capabilities of the nodes involved, and use this information as one of the criteria to assign appropriate roles to the different types of nodes. The implication here is that, as Zhang, Hu, and Fujisu (2006) stress, dynamic policies need to be supported for automated network control based on dynamic re-evaluation of communication capabilities and assets of an ad hoc network.
2.4 Secure and Robust
Finally, an ad hoc network management system should be secure and robust. It should allow secure exchange of management data among authorized users, and enhance the overall survivability of the network (ICT Director). This may require the means to authenticate and authorize users, and support encryption capabilities. In addition, the system should allow reliable transmission of management data with means to detect failure and provide fault-tolerance (ICT Director).
3.0 Policy-Based Network Management
In designing and deciding upon our network management architecture, our ICT Department was guided by the concerns outlined in the preceding section. Using these concerns as a roadmap for the determination of the format of our organization’s ideal network management system, the ICT department identified policy-based network systems as the optimal option. The reason lies in that