An inelastic flow is a flow with an inelastic rate, i.e., the rate is fixed, and it cannot be dynamically adjusted to traffic and load condition as in elastic flows like TCP. Real time, interactive sessions, and video/audio streaming are typical examples of inelastic flows. Reliable support of inelastic flows in wireless ad hoc networks is extremely challenging because flows and routes dynamically change and flows compete for the shared wireless channel. Bandwidth must be reserved for inelastic flows at session set up time. To avoid repeated attempts to set up reservations in a ‘volatile’ network and prevent serious network capacity degradation due to call set up overhead, a Call Admission Control strategy robust to mobility must be developed. In this paper we propose ProbeCast, a probe based call admission control scheme with QoS guarantees for inelastic flows. ProbCast was designed for multicast streams but can also work, by default, for unicast. In ProbeCast, a path (or a tree) is probed for capacity availability. If an intermediate link along the probed path fails to meet the QoS requirement, the flow is ‘pushed back’ via backpressure upstream to an intermediate branch or possibly to the source. The backpressure principle is simple; however, its implementation requires some care to avoid unfairness and eventual capture by one of the flows sharing a congested bottleneck. We show that proportional fairness among inelastic contenders will prevent capture. To achieve this, we have developed the Neighborhood Proportional Drop (N-PROD) scheme. N-PROD guarantees fair rejection of unfeasible flows and maintains the same proportional drop rate among surviving flows in the same contention domain. We demonstrate the efficacy and robustness of ProbeCast for unicast as well as multicast scenarios using the Qualnet simulation platform. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.