This paper focuses on the interaction and integration of several critical components of a MANET using smart antenna systems. A MANET is a wireless network where the communicating nodes are mobile, and the network topology is continuously changing. One of the central motivations for this work comes from the observed dependence of the overall network throughput on the design of adaptive antenna systems and their underlying signal processing algorithms. In fact, a major objective of this work is to study and document the overall efficiency of networks in terms of antenna radiation characteristics and the length of the training sequence used by the beamforming algorithms. Furthermore, the paper presents algorithms to combat the effects of fading channels on the overall system performance.