Wireless Mesh Networks/Mesh network basics
Mesh network basics
What is a Mesh Network?
In a classic wireless network, each node monitors that path between itself and an additional node. These networks are configured in a hierarchical fashion that ensures that each node uses a single connection path. The drawback to this approach is its lack of failure protection. If a node fails, the dedicated link is lost and the endpoint is unreachable until service is restored.
The establishment of multiple connection paths is a logical answer to this problem. Unfortunately, classic nodes lack the intelligent technology to select from alternate transmission paths.
Developers studied the idea of adding intelligence to each node to solve this problem. Such intelligence would track each available communication path and would logically select the best route. Added together, the multiplicity of nodes would create a mesh. This mesh would eliminate single points of failure. If one link went down,other network nodes would be alerted and could select an alternative node path. The design's self-healing nature would ensure that the network continued to operate. User access would be maintained as would productivity levels.
Today, the concept of intelligent mesh networks is a reality. Mesh is an increasingly applied network topology as researchers improve and enhance it, and businesses deploy and utilize it. Mesh has become the technology of choice for applications as diverse as securing military perimeters to regulating product flow down factory assembly lines to facilitating the intelligent navigation of one's morning commute.
A network shouldn't need to be configured by a system administrator to tell it how to get a message to its destination. Mesh network should be self-organizing and should not require manual configuration. Adding new gear or relocating existing gear should be as simple as plugging it in and turning it on. The network discovers the new node and automatically incorporates it into the existing system.
If a mesh node or a link in a mesh network fails, messages are sent around it via other devices. Loss of one or more nodes should not necessarily affect the network's operation. A mesh network should be self-healing because a mesh network should not need administrative changes in order to re-route messages.
Meshes should support multi-hop routing or switching. This means that data from a node can jump through multiple nodes before delivering its information to a host gateway or controller that may be monitoring the network.