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Mesh Networking | Novocaine Networks
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Mesh Networking

The design of most wireless networks involves the use of an classic access point.  These can vary from one to, in some cases 16 radios, but the common install approach is to attach the access point to a wired (usually Cat 5/6 ethernet) connection.  In some other cases there may be a specifically design wireless point to point or point to multipoint connection that is pre-engineered so that the flow of traffic is predetermined.  With mesh networks the nodes use a wireless connection to other “access points” to find a way off the mesh and out into the world.  Usually these nodes provide an access point functionality to users.  The connections are automatically created and the “optimal” path is calculated automatically via protocols that allow the nodes to discover their topology. (I quoted optimal because it doesn’t always get it right)  One of the big advantages is the ease of deployment and dynamic nature of the network.  All you really need to put out a node is power and in the right situation the power could be provided by a battery, generator, or solar.

It is worthy to note here that most of the home wireless devices are a layer 3 routing/NAT device paired up with an access point.  Usually these devices do NOT have enough processing power to provide reliable service in an event environment.  Also, the addition of a step that involves the manipulation of the layer3 protocols(espescially with the quick and dirty approaches some of the consumer devices take) will slow down a wireless network and can quite often cause certain protocols to malfunction (SIP among them). I have also seen them introduce some transient issues into a network.