What is a Wireless Mesh Network?

What is a Wireless Mesh Network? According to the Wikipedia entry, a wireless mesh network (WMN) is a communications network of radio nodes. These radio nodes connect within a mesh topology. It is also a form of wireless ad hoc network. Wireless mesh networks often consist of mesh clients, mesh routers and gateways.

Firstly, devices like laptops, smartphones, as well as other wireless technology are the mesh clients. Secondly, forwarding data to and from gateways is the sole responsibility of the mesh router or routers. These routers connect to the internet. However, an internet connection may not necessarily be a prerequisite for certain functions.

Wireless mesh networks are reliable. More reliable than the standard access point setup. Additionally, wireless mesh networks communicate with various wireless technologies such as the 802.11, 802.15, 802.16 as well as cellular technologies. Furthermore, wireless mesh networks use more than one protocol or technology at any given time. For more reading on the history of wireless mesh networks, go here. To illustrate how wireless mesh networks work, view the photo below:

What is a wireless mesh network?

What is a wireless mesh network? By David Johnson, Karel Matthee, Dare Sokoya, Lawrence Mboweni, Ajay Makan, and Henk Kotze (Wireless Africa, Meraka Institute, South Africa) - Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network: A do-it-yourself guide to planning and building a Freifunk based mesh network, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30799980.

Wireless Mesh Network Products

There exist several wireless mesh network products available for purchase on Amazon. (Also purchasable on official websites for each individual wireless mesh network product). A quick google search returns many product listings but which are the best?

We wrote about several here on OrDuh! And, we'll continue to write about any new innovative ideas that pop up. However, so far, the wireless mesh network products that stand out are; the eero, the Luma, NetGear's Orbi and Google WiFi. These wireless mesh network hardware are at the top of the list.

For comparisons, view our Luma vs eero, eero vs Luma vs Orbi, Netgear Orbi vs Luma & Netgear Orbi vs eero articles. Subsequently, we'll have articles highlighting the Google WiFi mesh network.

Mesh Network Advantages and Disadvantages

What Are The Mesh Topology Advantages and Disadvantages? Every network connection has its own advantages and disadvantages. For mesh topology the advantages and disadvantages are:

Advantages

  • A broken node won’t distract the transmission of data in a mesh network. Each node connects to several other nodes. This connection facilitates easy transmission of data. The signals ignore broken nodes and locate a new one that connects to the node. I.E - Your connection is always stable.
  • Additional devices in a mesh topology will not affect its network connection. Hence it will improve the traffic in the network. Mesh topology makes a large data center that simulates useful information to its nodes.
  • A mesh topology handles high amounts of network traffic since it considers every additional device into the network a node. Interconnected devices simultaneously transfer data smoothly and do not complicate the network connection.

Disadvantages

  • Maintaining mesh networks can be very hard to manage. It requires continuous supervision because of the redundancy present in the network. Skilled network administrators will find it easy to manage this kind of topology. However, the wireless mesh network products above include apps for easy everyday management.
  • This type of topology requires a lot of devices hence it will need a lot of capital to invest in. Only expensive if you need to cover extremely large areas such as campuses or business compounds.

Conclusion

Wireless mesh networks' advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Furthermore, with many wireless mesh network products on the market, it's pretty hard to go wrong. The eero, the Luma, NetGear's Orbi and, of course, Google's Google WiFi being the front runners of the pack.

As always, thanks for reading Wireless Mesh Network: Hardware, Products, Advantages & Disadvantages right here on OrDuh! You can check out our Smart home section for further reading on wireless mesh network hardware & products as well as other innovative advances in technology.