Networking being the way invented for ensuring the resource sharing in the aspect of enhancing communication, a network can be designed in a different way. The designed focus on providing and adopting a physical layout of the network. The paper takes a focus on discussing the mesh networking by describing the concept, highlighting the architecture, the functional protocols, and other necessary information as far as mesh networking is concerned. The implementation of the mesh networks also requires the use of different resources; therefore, the paper also cuts across about some of the required mesh hardware and software.
Networking is defined as the mode of establishing a connection between two or more computing/ communication devices for communication and sharing of resources. The objective is accomplished in different ways which are defined in terms networking styles/ or the networking topologies. Networks are developed in different styles such that the appearance of a network depends on eth physical layout established. Networking is defined with a different physical layout which defines the physical appearance of the network. It is defined as the network topology. The commonly used networking topology includes the star topology, bus topology, hybrid topology, ring topology and mesh topology. The star is the commonly applied network physical layout. Each layout is defined with a specific purpose that is always intended by the network designer. Mesh networking is among the physical layouts that persons have had the interest in the fact being its structure and modes of operations. The topology requires not such intelligence for its establishment instead of the basic of the networking.
A mesh network is a simply established network topology that allows each node within the network to relay data for the entire network. In the network, the network nodes collaborate in distributing data in the entire network whereby every node of the mesh network is referred to as the mesh node. The relaying of the information within the network by the mesh nodes applies the techniques of either flooding technique or the routing technique. The mesh network is well applied when it comes to wireless networking and has been developed as an advancement and replacement to the wireless ad-hoc networks which are referred to as the traditional wireless network. In the simple description, a mesh network is a local area network that is developed either as a full mesh topology or a partial mesh topology to facilitate the distribution of data within the network (Nizam, 2014).
Mesh networks are mostly referred to as the wireless mesh networks. In full mesh topology, each node within the network is directly connected to the each other node. It simply defined such that every mesh node has the circuit connection to other nodes in the network. The connection grants the greatest redundancy such that in case a single/ one mesh node fails, the network traffics is not affected in any case since it is simply directed to any other adjacent mesh node. However, such operations are always reserved for backbone networks by the fact that the process is quite expensive. In a partial mesh network, only some selected nodes are directly connected to other mesh network nodes while the other nodes are only connected to the nodes that they do exchange the most of the data within the network. It is operational by enabling a full mesh network scheme getting connected to only 1 or 2 nodes in the network (Oppenheimer, 2005). Well developed in peripheral networks that are later connected to the full meshed backbone networks. This makes the partial mesh topology less expensive when it comes to implementation and yield less redundancy at the same time. Therefore, mesh networking refers to the connection of the nodes directly to others either infill connection of partial connection with the aim of enabling the overall data exchange within the network.
A wireless mesh network has been the current promising wireless technology in the market with the many current emerging and interesting applications that requires the faster networking services. Some of the most dedicated applications include the intelligent transportation system, the broadband home networking and other applications. It is gaining more attentions especially being regarded as the best technique for the internet service providers and the end users of the networks in establishing the reliable, less costly and robust wireless broadband service access. It has been the advancement to the traditional wireless networks regarded as the ad-hoc networks by the fact they are dynamically self-organized and configured in such a way that the administration and management of the network are not technical. The networks have the automatic establishment and maintaining of the network connectivity no matter the location and the different considered factors as far as connection is concerned.
Wireless Mesh network architecture
In the explanation of the mesh network topology architecture, the approach takes a focus on the wireless mesh networks. In the mesh network, the network simply contains the mesh routers and the mesh clients’ that are arranged in a hierarchical manner without the isolation of the components. The hierarchy introduces the easy implementation of the dedicated, and the power enabled mesh router. This enables the establishment of integrated network architecture whereby some of the underlying mesh routers are known as the gateway. A gate is termed as a special wireless router that is characterized by high bandwidth wire connection to the global network/ internet. These mesh routers have the advanced routing functionalities that support the mesh networking. The architecture lies realistic by the fact that the mesh routers are fixed nodes that have no any experience in constraints on the power supply. The technology is under the commonly known standard IEEE 802.11 that defines the wireless local area networks and in this case they underline the mesh routers and the mesh clients (Leung & Hossain, 2008). However, despite the good establish mesh network architecture the network architecture is associated with some issues which require a good research to ensure that the future networks functions according to the ever changing technology.
The open research issues relating to the network architecture can get the height as follows. The networking planning has been the prioritized issue of address. In this case, the planning that relates to the hardware resources demands that they get devised to have the addressing of the position, the required accommodatable number of wireless interfaces and the technology limitations. This will provide a good way of understanding the mesh routers impact to the network capacity and topology reliability. The network provisioning defines the demand of developing a sophisticated tool that will ease the general network management. This will facilitate the dynamic establishment of the connection between the mesh routers and the mesh clients to cover up the dynamics that relates to the traffic load and the users network mobility. The third mentioned issue is the network integration. In the case, the standards that govern the network protocols should get integrated such as the IEE 802.11 and the IEE 802.15.4 and IEEE 802.16. This will enable the establishment of as many interfaces as we can. Te interfaces can be of another technology.
Mesh network operations
The mesh network operates on the techniques of routing or flooding techniques. Mesh network/ the mesh topology definition are a physical layout of the network which its mesh nodes are committed to transmitting data for the network. Each mesh node cooperates in distributing and relaying of data or information in the established mesh network. The most applied means are the routing technique or the flooding technique. The techniques describe how the mesh topology design works in a network. The data relaying is achieved through the procedure of conveying the message from the data source through a designated path. The message is taken from the node from the other node until it gets conveyed to the identified matching receiver. The routing technique ensures that all the mesh nodes are available during the transmission despite that some nodes can get broken. The process is technically referred to as the self-healing algorithm. The algorithm gets the network engineer with the humble time in troubleshooting of the issues that regards the data propagation within the network. In summary, the data hops from one node/ device to another sequentially until it gets to the designated destination. During the transmission, each node opts to communicate the routing information to all of the nodes/ devices that it gets connected. During the communication, each node has to identify/ determine what actual step it has to take/ do upon receiving the data by either retaining the data or passing the information to the next node/ device within the network.
Mesh network protocols
Mesh networks have been in front of using the two common protocols of the pro-active protocol and the re-active protocol. The pro-active protocol is the commonly applied internet routing protocol. The protocol is associated with the finding of the possible, reliable and available routing paths without depending on the paths in use. The pro-active protocol distributes the routing table periodically within the network to ensure that the fresh lists of the destinations are well maintained. The protocol is associated with some demerits get the network to have some issues and doubts. There is the wasting of the bandwidth that is well used during the transmitting of the routing tables. Secondly, the protocol gets to maintain some routes that get never used at all for the data transmission. More undesirable is that the algorithms never converge in most of the large networks. The pro-active protocol is associated with the routing technique that is applied in data transmission within the mesh network. The pro-active protocol also referred to as the table –driven protocol consist of the following protocols, the Optimized Link State Routing Protocol (OLSR), Topology Broadcast based on Reverse-Path Forwarding (TBRPF) routing protocol. Also, Hazy Sighted Link State (HSLS) routing protocol, Mobile Mesh Routing Protocol (MMRP) and the Open Shortest Path First (OSPF).
The re-active protocol is also called the On-demand protocol. The protocol works by finding the possible routes on demand by the method of flooding the mesh network with the route request packets. This protocol is associated with the flooding technique. Some of the deficits associated with the protocol include the delays experienced in finding the routes that are on demand. Also, the excessive application of flooding guarantees network clogging. An example of the re-active protocol is the Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vector (AODV) protocol. The AODV operates by establishing a route to the destination within eth network that is only on demand, unlike the common pro active protocols. It works on the principle that a network remains silent until the connection is required (In Thompson, In Chimenti & Symposium on Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation. 1995).
Mesh hardware and software packages
The mesh network is defined with some efficient hardware applied and the software application necessary for the overall management of the network as well as administration and establishment/ implementation. The mesh hardware cuts across from the refurbished computers to embedded boards. The market for the mesh hardware is also getting dynamic development by the point of having the open platforms of development and well governing standards that have facilitated the easy open hardware development. The mesh hardware includes the 4G AccessCube associated with low power consumption though it was out of production by the year 2006. The Meshnode that is recognized by it’s built in the waterproof outdoor location enclosure capability. Linksys WRT54G that is associated with the OpenWRT, the EWRT, Beatbox, FreifunkFirmware and the Sveasoft. Locustworld MeshAP defined with an onboard WiFi, a 500mhz processor, 32mb compact flash drive and the 128mb ram.
The mesh software package is defined as the mixture of packages, distribution, and collections. They give a good starting point for the mesh network implementation. There is some free mesh software. The applications include the MeshLinux that was applied in the older laptops for their reuse. Zebra/ Quagga, which is a free software that is highly applied, din the management of the TCP/IP based routing protocols. The Champaign-Urban Community Wireless Network (CuWin) acts as the operating system for the wireless network and meshing nodes. Pebble the Linux-based application. OpenWRT and the FreifunkFirmware (Odom, 2012).
Mesh network merits
In the case of a node breaking, does not distract the normal data transmission in a mesh network. The advantage is that every node within the network has the direct connection to other several nodes that facilitates the easier way of conveying/ relaying the data. What happens within the network is that the broken node is ignored and thus logically neglected by the signals from the adjacent connected nodes and develop the mechanism of establishing a new connection with the node.
Subsequently, the introduction/addition of devices/ nodes does not affect the overall mesh network connection. This device introduction gets some improvement on the traffic in the mesh network. It is identical that the mesh topology will make a data center that always stimulates a possible useful information to the network nodes.
Another mentionable merit of the network is that it stands of handling high amounts of network traffic by the fact that for any addition of a device to the network, it is considered as a node. Another benefit advantage is that the interconnected nodes still stands to transfer information simultaneously well and smoothly without complicating or affecting the network connection.
Disadvantages of mesh network
The network is quite complicated such that it requires close supervision such that maintaining the mesh network is hard. The supervision required should be continuous and real-time to ensure that the network redundancy is well handled. Once things are gone such, then the mesh network administrators can manage the network more easily (Link-labs, 2016).
A lot of devices are required. When it comes to the wired mesh network, the cabling required is much, and this raises the cost of establishing such a network. The security within the network is relatively an issue. Especially when it comes to the wireless mesh network, the network is highly vulnerable to deal of service attacks.
Mesh networks are of growth by the fact that they being implemented as wireless networks. The technology adopts different protocols and technologies that simplify the physical layout of the network design. The network can be implemented as either full network or a partial network. The network adopts different protocols of pro-active of the re-active whereby each comes with a list of different protocols. The architecture of the network has some issues which demand some rectification. The implementation of the network requires different hardware and software which have been developed and are still under evolution.
In Thompson, D. O., In Chimenti, D. E., & Symposium on Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation. (1995). Review of progress in quantitative nondestructive evaluation: Volume 14A. New York: Plenum Press.
Leung, K. K., & Hossain, E. (2008). Wireless mesh networks: Architectures, protocols, services, and applications. New York: Springer.
Link-labs, (2016) Mesh Network Topology: Advantages and Disadvantages For M2M Communication.
Nizam, A. (2014). Networking Basics.
Odom, W. (2012). CCNA ICND2: 640-816 official cert guide. Indianapolis: Cisco Press.
Oppenheimer, P. (2005). Top-Down Network Design, Second Edition. Cisco Press.