Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) and Ad hoc Network differ in one important factor: Infrastructure-based vs Infrastructure-less. In WSN, network is managed by a base station such as these antenna around us that receive our data and phone calls.
The previous is based on definitions that may be a bit lacking. Simply stated, a WSN is neither infrastructure based nor infrastructure-less.
A WSN is simply a network of sensors that have some means of communicating data. The method of communication may be 802.11, Bluetooth, Zigbee or any of dozens of standard wireless communications methods (or a much larger number of proprietary ones). The mode of operation with the sensor network can also be of any type, whether that is some sort of infrastructure, ad hoc, or mesh topology. They may use some sort of base station/gateway, connect to a traditional network directly or connect directly to some sort of data collection point.
However, I don't understand how Ad hoc is really managed (At least I don't see its application in my daily life). Can someone explain how Ad hoc is managed? Special type of base station maybe!
An ad hoc network is simply a network where two STAs connect directly to communicate. If you have three STAs in close proximity, each STA will make separate connections to each of the other two STAs. This continues to be true as you have more STAs; five STAs in close proximity would each need to manage four connections (one to each other STA), 10 STAs means 9 connections per STA, and so on.
Communication in an ad hoc network only occurs directly between two connected STAs. Unless someone runs another process on the ad hoc STAs, there is no means of forwarding or passing along data intended for another destination than the connected STA.
I'm interested in the differences between Ad hoc and Managed mode as well. I've read some people say their card works better in managed....[snip]
This is from the comment included in the bounty from another user. While the bounty did bring this back up for attention, what the OP asked and what the user placing the bounty is asking are two different questions. This comment is about the modes of operation that can be configured for an 802.11 client, it does not relate to the general nature of the OP question about WSN and ad hoc networks and really should be asked as a separate question.