Question: What Is a Mesh Network?
Answer: In computer networking, a mesh is one kind of network topology.
Types of Mesh NetworksMesh networking has become increasingly popular in recent years with the growth of Wi-Fi and outdoor wireless networks. Although mesh networks can also be built using cables, it is more cost effective and easier to scale a mesh using wireless connection technologies. Several different categories of mesh networks exist including:
- community networks - connecting neighborhoods for more efficient sharing of network bandwidth and better social interaction. See the Jalalabad Fab-Fi Network for one example.
- municipal networks - infrastructure for law enforcement and protected sharing of local government services
- ad-hoc wireless networks - connections created "on-the-fly" among a small number of devices, often for file sharing between friends away from home
Mesh Network Basic TechnologiesBeside the protocols and applications used in standard wired and wireless networking, several technologies have been created specifically for the purpose of mesh networking:
- 802.11s, a standard being developed for ad-hoc Wi-Fi meshes
- home automation network protocols like INSTEON, Z-Wave, and ZigBee
- spanning trees, algorithms for managing data flow on traditional mesh networks