The advantages of wireless mesh technologies
Some people claim mesh is the new hype, the new magic bullet. Why is that, and what is mesh anyway? And most importantly – how will it help in designing your products?
First we need to set the scene – what’s the situation when not having mesh? Well, think about your WiFi. To get good coverage and quality of service you’ll need to install several WiFi access points across a building and tie them together though a building-wide network (most commonly Ethernet).
This approach is both labor intensive and expensive since there is hardware and wiring needed, with the sole purpose of creating network coverage.
An extremely important factor in these cases is the link range, since that will limit how far away a device can be from an access point.
Mesh networks on the other hand are networks where the devices themselves creates the coverage, and help forwarding the data. This eliminates the need for separate infrastructure; the devices will create the infrastructure themselves – reducing cost and complexity.
Since data is forwarded from node to node, the range from a device becomes less important, since the range now does not have to cover all devices, but instead is only required to cover the distance between two devices.
Furthermore mesh networks are most often self-healing. In layman terms this means that if the link is bad (for instance due to a device failure or in case the surrounding environment has changed), the network will find a new route for the traffic. The network is thus not sensitive to changes made in the building. In other words, the network is future-proof!
With self-healing networks and no need for special infrastructure it easy to see why mesh is considered a magic bullet – it simply helps in creating Future-Proof systems.