Mesh Networking

Researchers in Microsoft Research Redmond, Cambridge, and Silicon Valley are working to create wireless technologies that allow neighbors to connect their home networks together. There are many advantages to enabling such connectivity and forming a community mesh network. For example, when enough neighbors cooperate and forward each others packets, they do not need to individually install an Internet tapbut instead can share faster, cost-effective Internet access via gateways that are distributed in their neighborhood. Mesh networking is a type of network where each node (or device) must not only capture and distribute its own data, but also serve as a relay for other nodes, that is, it must collaborate to spread the data in the network. Messages are propagated along a path, by hopping from node to node until the destination is reached. To ensure all its paths are available, a routing network allows for continuous connections and reconfiguration around broken or blocked paths, using self-healing algorithms. A mesh network is reliable and offers redundancy. If one node can no longer operate, all the rest can still communicate with each other, directly or through one or more intermediate nodes. Mesh networks work well when the nodes are located at scattered points that do not lie near a common line. A mesh network whose nodes are all connected to each other is a fully connected network. The self-healing capability enables a routing based network to operate when one node breaks down or a connection goes bad. As a result, the network is typically reliable, as there is often more than one path between a source and a destination in the network. Mesh networking is organic — everyone in the neighborhood contributes network resources and cooperates.


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