With the global population having recently reached seven billion, it’s estimated that 60 percent of all human beings lack internet access. This is most evident with people in poorer economic classes, and those who live far from cities. For the 2.8 billion individuals with internet access (namely those who have wireless modems in their homes), several users have that one spot in their residence where the wireless signal is weak or nonexistent — popularly referred to as a “dead zone”. This should add a little perspective on how imperfect wireless internet access remains, despite its degree of availability.
This issue can be resolved with a wireless repeater that uses “internet over power” adaptors that would still redirect all signals to the main router, which is connected to the internet through one data path. The secondary issue with wireless repeaters, however, is the need for a connection to either another repeater to the router or a direct link to the router itself. A broadband router for example, offers a top download speed of 512Kb/s, which can be tantalizingly slow when there are multiple other users and high quantity of internet-enabled devices in the user’s residence.
Some of these connectivity and performance issues are relatively practical, like incoming phone lines being located at the corner of the bottom of a house, where the section’s walls are brick. To counter this, some people like using tricks such as customizable Wi-Fi antennas and adaptors to detect the signal, creating a local wireless connection for any device in areas away from the residence. Half of the issue in this case, could be addressed by fixing a wireless repeater in a separate room, however, this wouldn’t solve the issue of broadband speed. In many places, a user can receive neighboring Wi-Fi signals and Bluetooth connections from nearby devices.
So how can we resolve these different issues of limited and inconsistent widespread availability for wireless connectivity?
Insert mesh networking, a form of topology that relies on every device connected to the “mesh” to be both a user and transceiver, essentially broadcasting an interconnected signal at a neighborhood or city-wide level. In a standard home network, the router is the main hub where every device connects for internet access. All discoverable devices are interconnected in the mesh network, enabling them to communicate with each other (even without a direct link between the sender and receiver). Messages travel across the mesh to reach the recipient, whose method of transportation is largely determined by the chosen protocol.
Technically, this is how the internet works as a whole by using an array of interconnected servers where messages hop in between servers in order to reach their destination. The advantages a mesh network offers are distinct in that many wireless devices are becoming internet-capable. Instead of all devices in a home being connected to a networked main router, they connected to a global mesh signal. As long as one of these devices maintains their connection to the main router, all mesh devices will remain wirelessly connected online, even if one device is too far from the router. The devices down the mesh have internet access, and their signal strength to nearby devices will be considerably higher than being directly connected, which is one of the network’s main advantages.
Hypothetically, if each device has a 25-meter distance between these nodes (presumably in a straight line), this allows the signal strength between the router and client to be up to 16 times stronger if data from the client hops through each client. The increase in signal strength allows for larger data throughout, improving the internet connection for all devices located away from the device where the wireless connection originated. Network reliability is greater than one comprised of single repeaters, since the failure of one mesh device doesn’t bring the entire network down. Having said that, wireless repeaters can suffer from this condition since they would be the single source of a network broadcast for a specified area.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)