In this paper we study the performance trade-offs between conventional cellular and multi-hop ad-hoc wireless networks. We compare through simulations the performance of the two network models in terms of raw network capacity, end-to-end throughput, end-to-end delay, power consumption, per-node fairness (for throughput, delay, and power), and impact of mobility on the network performance. The simulation results show that while ad-hoc networks perform better in terms of throughput, delay, and power, they suffer from unfairness and poor network performance in the event of mobility.
We discuss the trade-offs involved in the performance of the two network models, identify the specific reasons behind them, and argue that the trade-offs preclude the adoption of either network model as a clear solution for future wireless communication systems. Finally, we present a simple hybrid wireless network model that has the combined advantages of cellular and ad-hoc wireless networks but does not suffer from the disadvantages of either.