Future-Proof, Wireless Mesh Networking
Mesh network requirements have evolved from their military origins as
requirements have moved from the battlefield to the service provider, and
enterprise networking environments. Growing demands for Time Sensitive, Video, Voice and M2M streams require packets to
be moved over the mesh at high speeds and
with low latency and low jitter.
To complicate matters, the Outdoor Enterprises (Military, Mining, Oil and Gas,
Agriculture) require costly Cellular or Satellite connectivity links to be
efficiently -- and securely -- distributed over larger areas for mobile machinery
("things"), operating at the "edge".
These challenges in Scalability
are especially relevant to the Industrial Internet.
1. Tree Based Multi-Radio
Mesh Architectures Scale.
1: First, Second and Ad hoc (Peer-to-Peer) Mesh Architectures vs. Meshdynamics
Tree Based Approach.
Three evolutions of mesh architectures are shown above. Note
: First and
Second, both use a single radio as backhaul:
1-Radio Ad Hoc Mesh (left). This network uses one radio channel
to service clients and backhaul. This architecture provides the worst of all the options, as expected, since both backhaul and service compete for bandwidth.
: Dual-Radio with Single Radio Ad-Hoc meshed backhaul (center).
A single radio
ad hoc mesh is still servicing the backhaul, packets traveling
toward the Internet share bandwidth at each hop along the backhaul path with
other interfering mesh backhaul nodes - all-operating on the same channel. "Peer-to-Peer"
don't scale. More
: 3-Radio Meshdynamics Mesh (right). Provides separate
backhaul and service functionality
dynamically manages channels of all uplink and downlink radios so
that backhauls (and "hops") are on non-interfering channels.
2. Conventional Single Channel Backhauls
Fig.2: (left) Competing mesh products suffer from ½ Bandwidth loss with each hop.
Click to Enlarge.
Fig 3: (right): Meshdynamics MeshControlTM
Software engenders Frequency Agility. Click to
With one backhaul radio available for relaying packets, all nodes communicate
with each other on one radio channel. For data to be relayed from mesh node to
mesh node, that node must repeat it in a store-and-forward manner. A node first
receives the data and then retransmits it. These 2 operations cannot occur
simultaneously because, with only a single radio channel, simultaneous
transmission and reception would interfere with each other.
This inability - to simultaneously transmit and receive - is a serious
disadvantage. If a node cannot send and receive at the same time, it loses ½ of
its bandwidth as it attempts to relay packets up and down the backhaul path. A
loss of ½ with each hop implies that after 4 hops, a user would be left with
(½*½*½*½) = 1/16 of the bandwidth available at the Ethernet link: 1/(2H
relationship defines the fraction of the bandwidth available to a user after H
hops, see Figure 2. More
3. Managing RF Interference and
Switching to another channel contains local interference at one "dirty" section of the network. With one radio backhauls, this is not possible: the
entire network is on the same channel
and switching to another channel is simply not practical.
The performance of single channel backhauls is thus heavily compromised in RF polluted environments or under malicious attacks. Military field trials with
our dual channel backhaul demonstrated frequency agility,
ensuring that the network is active - even with malicious RF interference.
Our blue backhaul radios (Fig. 3) simply switched to non-interfering channels.
4. Tree Based Wireless
Mesh Architectures are Inherently Future-Proof
Enterprise class network switches use an efficient
tree structure for routing. The switch stack tree like structure uses simpler
routing mechanisms - trees have no loops and complications of looping are thus
As wired network trees scales up, the wired networks
scale accordingly - more switches are added to
continue to segment and manage (divide and conquer)
the expanding collision domains. For broadcasting
trees with height H of O(logn)
, routing overhead
in tree based routing protocols is O(nlogn)
It "keeps up" with Moore's Law. Tree based networks are
Similarly, as Meshdynamics wireless equivalent
network, scales up, the dynamic channel management algorithms, running in each
mesh node, change the RF radio channels, to segment and manage the shared RF
mediums, also as O(nlogn)
Single radio Peer-to-peer networks have routing
protocol overhead O(n2)
. Update times grow
as n increases. When clients or
mesh nodes are moving
, routing tables
are not in sync: higher latency and jitter in time sensitive traffic.
Our nodes connect as branches of a tree. Tree based routing is scalable, efficient,
5. Abstraction Layer Supports Legacy and Emerging Wireless Radio Protocols
Meshdynamics dual channel implementation is not limited to any particular number or type
of physical radios, or indeed to the concept of separate physical radios at all.
Instead, the Meshdynamics
mesh networking algorithms treat multiple physical radios as a pool of
available connections. We work closely with our licensees to
support a diverse list of
: Decoupling the logical
topology-definition processes from the specific physical
radio in this fashion delivers distributed dynamic radio
intelligence benefits for current as well as emerging radio
For our OEM software licensees. this substantially
decreases time to market and better manufacturing scale, reducing both
development- and unit cost over custom development, while still supporting newer
protocols, Sharp QCX-300
6. Modular Multi-Radio Design Securely
connects Edge Devices
Fig 4: Configurable Board supports up to 4
radios Fig 5: Interoperability between 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz sub trees
Our products take Channel Agility one step
further. The "RF robot" control software runs
at a radio-abstracted layer: the same
mesh control supports
radios operating on diverse wireless communication protocols.
Fig. 4 shows how this level of flexibility is leveraged in the MD4000 Modular
Mesh Products. There are 4 mini-PCI slots on the board, two on the bottom and two on top. Each of the four slots can house a different frequency radio. This opens up some interesting possibilities including 2.4 GHz backhaul
sub tree being part of a mesh tree with 5.8 GHz backhauls.
Since the service and backhaul radios are distinct, service radios may bridge over from a 5.8 GHz backhaul to 2.4 GHz backhaul –
forming a new 2.4 GHz branch of the tree, Fig.
5. The 4325 Mobility Relay node on the bottom left has joined the mesh – even though the upper links are 5.8 GHz (blue
) – through the service radio (pink
In Infrastructure mode, device to device M2M messaging " goes up the tree". When (not if) IOT devices
are compromised, the uplink radios of the
corrupted branches are temporarily "cut off". This is not possible in single
radio, peer-to-peer networks.
7. Embedded Machine Controllers For Local Control Loops
Fig. 6: Machine controller applications, in mesh nodes,
orchestrating local and remote (supervisory) control loops.
Machine controller applications, running on the mesh nodes, monitor and control
enterprise assets at the network edge. M2M messaging is latency and jitter
aware. A low latency Pub/Sub messaging framework manages periodic packet shuttle
services. Performance is analyzed in the cloud. We assume intermittent,
unreliable, cloud connectivity.
Our radio and protocol abstraction layers enable "apps" to manage a plethora of
both IP and Non IP ("Chirp")
A device and communication protocol abstracted framework
emerges, capable of tight integration with "machine controller" applications
- on the mesh nodes - to orchestrate sensor-actuator
interactions and feedback command and control loops.
New mesh requirements e.g. more hops to cover larger areas, efficient bandwidth distribution,
low latency and jitter for Video,
Voice and M2M communications, have given rise to new mesh architectures.
Meshdynamics patented multi-radio backhaul architectures delivers consistent
throughput and more-deterministic performance needed to meet these new requirements.
Our device and protocol abstractions support distributed dynamic radio intelligence,
frequency agility, automated channel selection, dynamic topology configuration,
and seamless extensions for the network "edge".. These capabilities provide single framework solutions for larger scale and diverse application environments
at the edge: e.g. Industrial Internet of Things.
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Guides, Papers, Patents and Field tested Performance Validations.