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mesh networking- explained

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A mesh network is any network that is an interconnection of nodes, only some of which have an uplink out of the network. In some mesh networks, the links between nodes are transient and unreliable, causing routing to fluctuate rapidly.

In all mesh networks, there are nodes that have to traverse a number of other nodes to exit the overall network, thus requiring cooperation of the mesh for full functionality.

Since every device has at least two ways to transfer data, the whole network doesn’t have to rely on a single node only.

On the contrary, the conventional star network is a way in which all the devices are directly connected to the gateway. Thus, the whole structure becomes very dependent and prone to connection failures. Besides, the crash in one node connection impedes the data transfer in the entire network.

How do mesh networks work?


Mesh network can send informations in a flooding form where all nodes receive the same information at the same time or by routing. Routing is when informations are being transformed by hopping from one node to the other and so on.

There’s also Shortest Path Bridging algorithm that helps informations in choosing the shortest path available.

In this way, a mesh network is able to route around links failures and node failures because there is intrinsic redundancy in the paths available in a wireless mesh network. There has been many routing protocols developed for wireless mesh networks over the years both in academia and by industrial vendors. Most of the research has been around the best metric to measure link quality and performance.


Star topology is a traditional way of connecting devices to each other. One node is either connected to the one next to it and so on or all of the devices are connected directly to the gateway. This creates a risk that if one device stops working, some or even all of the informations won’t get processed.

On the other hand, there is mesh topology. It doesn’t depend on one node to send all of the informations which makes it a lot safer. Every node connects to at least two other nodes.

Mesh network can send informations in a flooding form where all nodes receive the same information at the same time or by routing. Routing is when informations are being transformed by hopping from one node to the other and so on.

Nodes –

Every mesh network has nodes i.e., the devices that communicate data with each other.

Gateway –

Gateway not only allows devices to transfer data in the network but also provides a backhaul to the internet for the local mesh network.


Repeater –

In the case of wifi type of mesh network, there are repeaters that maintain internet signal and forward messages between endpoints.


Endpoint –

Endpoints are mesh-only devices that don’t route messages for other devices, but send them to other nodes. That’s why they are referred to as endpoints. Specifically, they have no networking responsibilities, can enter sleep mode, and are excellent components for battery-powered nodes and sensors.


Mesh network for IoT devices transfers data in two ways: Flooding or Routing. In Flooding, all the nodes act as a data broadcaster. Thus, this technique expedites data communication. However, Flooding is an energy-consuming approach.


At the same time, routing chooses one path and transfers the data package from node to node until it reaches the endpoint. Unlike flooding, routing sends data to one node at a time. It chooses another route only when the connection in the first route breaks. Furthermore, to ensure efficiency, the mesh network adopts Shortest Path Bridging i.e., SPB or IEEE 802.1aq algorithm, to transfer data via the shortest route available.


Types of Mesh Network

In a mesh network for IoT devices, IoT app developers can connect devices in two ways: Full Mesh Network or Partial Mesh Network.


Full mesh network requires end-to-end connection among every device, router, or switch to provide a high degree of redundancy and efficiency. Besides, it facilitates data package communication by single-link.


On the other hand, in a partial mesh network, devices are not directly connected to each other. But still, each device is connected to at least two other nodes. So, this type of mesh network enables rapid data transfer from one node to the other.

                                                              (picture from Google)

Where IoT Mesh Network Can be Used

With new technologies, wireless mesh networking has reached a point of maturity and become ideal for IoT app developers. Besides, the elevation of connected homes and industry support on open-source resources has made mesh truly accessible and low-cost. They are also regarded as much more viable and real choice for commercial as well as industrial IoT apps. At the same time, it can render extra services in a system where extending a two-node connection is limited.


Smart Cities – 

A wireless mesh network is the best for extending radio signals through campus grounds, business parks, parking garages, and other outdoor facilities. Besides extending signals throughout the whole space, it can be able to send a message when a spot is occupied. Thus, areas like parking garages that need space availability checkers significantly benefit from a mesh network.


Healthcare Equipment –

A mesh network can facilitate monitoring and locating medical equipment. It can also serve as a backup for medical devices that always require to stay online. Thus, if one node crashes and loses connectivity, another node can step in to maintain the connection.


Smart Home –

You can track and manage temperature across your home using a wireless mesh network. You can also capture live data and adjust settings automatically by setting up one powered gateway, sensors, and mesh-enabled nodes in each room.


Farming –

Mesh networking is the best way to track sun exposure and water levels across the crops and fields. Additionally, you can create a cellular-connected IoT platform by building a mesh network across a whole acreage with the help of an IoT app development company.

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