Meshdynamics
Meshdynamics Press Releases (Transcripts)
Condensed Transcripts Of Meshdynamics Press Releases. 2008-2010 

Oct 01, 2010 Wireless Design Related Links: Smart Multi-Grid Web Page, The Emerging Smart Multi-Grid Wireless Architecture 

Smart Grid networks are currently receiving tremendous government attention and funding. The US Department of Energy says the Smart Grid "would integrate advanced functions into the nation's electric grid to enhance reliability, efficiency, and security, and would also contribute to the climate change strategic goal of reducing carbon emissions. These advancements will be achieved by modernizing the utility grid with information-age technologies, such as microprocessors, communications, advanced computing, and information technologies."

In the first phases, Automated Meter Reading (AMR) is the focus of the Smart Grid effort, but more sophisticated sources and uses for meter and sensor data are planned. While power line data transmission technologies exist and may be used inside homes and business, the wider area communications link outdoors is expected to be primarily wireless. ... 
 
To date, many of the pilot projects funded to date treat the "Smart Grid" network in isolation using technologies such as 3G and LTE as transport mechanisms. The wireless and/or wired networks provide only the digital connections that support the functions of the utility grid itself, such as AMR. A new, independent communications network must be installed to support this flow of data.
 
But the ideal for many localities is not to roll out yet another data network that must be individually managed and funded, but rather to consolidate applications in a single infrastructure that may support multiple public needs.
 
Some of these public needs might include: video surveillance, public safety communications, traffic signal controls, even public access WiFi networks to bridge the "digital divide", among others. Not only are localities discovering that it will be more efficient to provision and manage a single network that could provide Smart Grid connectivity along with one or more other applications over the same infrastructure, but it doing so allows multiple Federal and other funding sources to be tapped to provide the resources to build and support the network.

This is called a "Smart Multi-Grid™ wireless network" and combines the networking necessary for the better management of the electrical grid with support for multiple other critical local government priorities. [More]
 
April 09, 2010 Managing Automation Related Links: Mesh Networking in Mining, Miners Give a Nod to Nodes

It will be a long time before we know all of the details surrounding the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, that is now known as the worst coal mining accident in 25 years. The Massey Energy Company, owner of the mine where the Monday explosion killed 25 miners, now must answer questions about the safety precautions that were or were not in place. As the speculation and accusations pepper the news reports, I keep trying to put myself in the shoes of the family members who are grieving, some of whom are still awaiting word on four people who remain missing in the mine. The reports that I’ve read indicate that it is unlikely anyone would have survived the blast. But if anyone did there are said to be airtight chambers in the mine with food, water, and oxygen that could sustain an individual for a number of days until help arrived.

As I listen to the news reports, my mind keeps flashing back to an article I wrote a year ago on Meshdynamics, which introduced a bundled hardware and software mesh networking solution meant for use in hard-to-reach places, such as coal mines. The Meshdynamics nodes can maintain voice-over-IP communication at the edges of a network, which is also coupled with Wi-Fi location tracking applications. The motivation behind the development of this product was the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006, put in place after the coal mine explosion in Sago, WV, in January of that year. The MINER Act requires wireless two-way communications between underground and surface personnel to determine the location of anyone trapped in the mine. The act stated that mines should be equipped with such technology by 2009. Perhaps that’s another issue that should be raised as officials continue their investigation of this latest tragedy. [More]
 
March 29, 2010 BusinessWire Related Links: Smart Multi-Grid Web Page, Smart-Multi-Grid White paper
Meshdynamics, the leader in Third Generation wireless mesh networking for the outdoor enterprise, today announced Smart Multi-Grid™ wireless network technology. Smart Multi-Grid wireless networks allow local governments to create powerful new infrastructures combining utility monitoring, metering, and management with a wide range of other key applications including public safety communications, video surveillance, traffic signal controls, even public access WiFi networks to bridge the "digital divide", among many others.

“This exceptional performance was key to the success of our deployment.” Smart Grid networks are among the highest profile projects in the news today, with billions of dollars in government funds available for Automated Meter Reading and similar networks. But the ideal for many localities is not to roll out yet another independent data network that must be individually managed and funded, but rather to consolidate applications in a single Smart Multi-Grid wireless network infrastructure that can support multiple public needs. Government stimulus monies available for Broadband, Transportation, and Smart Grid expansion are applicable to the deployment of Smart Multi-Grid wireless networks.

Smart Multi-Grid wireless networks: Some of the highly desired applications, such as video surveillance, demand high performance in terms of high bandwidth and low latency and jitter. One of the challenges in delivering this type of applications outdoors is the need to connect over long distances with relatively few devices. This can be even more difficult to cost-justify if the wireless mesh nodes cannot supply high performance and low latency over many hops (node-to-node links).

Third-generation wireless mesh nodes (such as the Meshdynamics MD4000) are uniquely well-suited to the Smart Multi-Grid wireless network environment, as they add minimal delay and jitter at each node. In addition, sophisticated virtual LAN and other prioritization and security features can provide for the differing needs of each type of traffic, from the low speed access of the utility Smart Grid to the high-demand needs of public safety and video surveillance.

Particularly in suburban and exurban environments, the ability to deliver a connectivity infrastructure for the utility Smart Grid and other networks over long distances with relatively few nodes allows for a very attractive return on investment. The fact that these nodes operate securely in unlicensed RF spectrums also eases installation and speeds deployment.

Smart Multi-Grid wireless network at military base: Large military bases function like a municipal government in many aspects, responsible for utilities and communication for residents and other base infrastructure. Meshdynamics' partner Technology Associates International Corporation (www.taic.net) recently successfully deployed their first pilot Smart Multi-Grid wireless network for the Base Facilities Department at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

The network is comprised of Meshdynamics MD4000 wireless mesh nodes incorporating a 5.8 GHz network backbone architecture connecting areas of the Base utilizing local 2.4 GHz mesh networks. The wireless network covers approximately 23 square miles with the longest transmission link being 4.8 miles long.

The Smart Multi-Grid wireless network provides support for the Base’s Energy Management Control System (EMCS) and the Automated Metering Infrastructure. Building automation data is transported to the EMCS to provide constant monitoring of facilities. Technology Associates also implemented the infrastructure to enable real time capability for Automated Metering providing electric, gas, and water billing data through the wireless network for the Base.

"Meshdynamics' unique technology offered us the high performance over many hops and extended distance that made the Base network possible," noted Anthony Mingus, Technology Associates IT Projects Manager. "This exceptional performance was key to the success of our deployment."

Meshdynamics MD4000 wireless nodes are uniquely well suited for this military application because they support data encryption with FIPS 140-2 certification. This enabled Technology Associates to provide compliance with Defense Information Systems Agency requirements for wireless network security. Video surveillance of key security locations is being added now to this Smart Multi-Grid network, with other applications possible in the future.

"We are extremely impressed with the mesh networking applications and support core competency at Technology Associates," said Francis DaCosta, founder and Chief Technical Officer, Meshdynamics. "We look forward to Technology Associates extending our Smart Multi-Grid wireless network success within the Department of Defense and the U.S. Marines."

Additional Smart Multi-Grid wireless networks deploying now A number of additional Smart Multi-Grid wireless networks are in pilot deployments or production today. The availability of government stimulus funds makes the deployment of Smart Multi-Grid wireless networks attractive to a broad range of municipalities and localities. Meshdynamics is actively seeking additional partners in specific market segments. 
 
March 22, 2010 Muniwireless Related Links: Smart Multi-Grid Web Page, Smart-Multi-Grid White paper 
Camp Pendleton, a large Marine Corps base in Southern California, has deployed a wireless mesh network for the base’s Energy Management Control Systems (EMCS) and Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI). The network is also used for monitoring wireless security cameras around water reservoirs.

This is the first pilot smart multi-grid network for the Base Facilities Department at Camp Pendleton. The network is comprised of Meshdynamics MD4000 wireless mesh nodes incorporating a 5.8 GHz network backbone architecture connecting areas of the base utilizing local 2.4 GHz mesh networks. The wireless network covers approximately 23 square miles with the longest transmission link being 4.8 miles long.

The goal of the network is to allow the Facilities Department’s staff to monitor and control building heating, lighting and airconditioning from a central control center via the wireless mesh network, instead of sending people to run around all day performing these tasks. This saves the base a lot of time and money, and allows staff to fix problems as soon as they arise. In addition, the AMI provides electric, gas, and water billing data through the wireless network.

The wireless security video cameras set up around the reservoirs are also a big time and money saver because the base covers 400,000 acres and it is nearly impossible to send staff to check the conditions around the reservoirs everyday. There are plans to deploy wireless video cameras around the base perimeter, creating a “virtual fence” so that the base does not have to build a physical fence, a project which is extremely costly, due to the terrain and negative environmental impact.

The network took 7 months to deploy. The systems integrator is Technology Associates International Corporation (TAIC) and the mesh equipment comes from Meshdynamics.

March 16, 2009 BusinessWire Related Link: MD1000 Products Web Page
New Meshdynamics Edge Nodes Deliver Third Generation Benefits at Lower Cost
Unique Hybrid Mesh Extends Networks for First Responders, Security Personnel

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Meshdynamics, the leader in Third Generation wireless mesh networking for the outdoor enterprise, today announced three new software packages designed to turn off-the-shelf hardware into powerful 802.11 Wi-Fi edge nodes. These new packages leverage the company's patented and patent-pending networking algorithms but offer smaller, lower cost, and lower power requirement options at the edge of the network.

The three new Edge Node software packages extend the innovations of Meshdynamics MD4000 family of wireless mesh nodes. All three are designed to participate in company's unique distributed topology and channel selection technology as well as allowing for centralized management of the entire network. These capabilities go far beyond traditional Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) features.

Three software packages are available and being announced now, with others in development for future release. The three current packages include Standard Edge Node, Mobile Edge Node, and Hybrid Edge Node software. These are delivered as software licenses for use with off-the-shelf Bullet™ and NanoStation™ hardware provided by Ubiquiti Networks, Inc.

All three software packages make use of unique software technologies that allow the single physical radio present in these hardware platforms to operate as multiple logical radios. This delivers the networking intelligence of the MD4000 wireless mesh nodes at the edge of the network, where high bandwidth performance is not as critical, at a lower cost.

Standard Edge Nodes Offer Cost-Effective Connections at the Perimeter

The Standard Edge Node (SEN) package operates on Ubiquiti Bullet™ and NanoStation™ hardware platforms, providing cost-effective nodes at the edge of an MD4000 multi-radio wireless mesh network that participate fully in the network topology and network management functions of the Meshdynamics modular framework. Unlike traditional CPEs, the Standard Edge Nodes are able to adapt and avoid interference, insuring reliable connections for applications such as video surveillance, WISP subscriber links, automated meter reading, and other Ethernet-connected services.

Mobile Edge Nodes Power Mobile Vehicles and Individuals

Mobile environments often demand fixed channel structures because of the limitations of First- and second-Generation wireless mesh technologies. Meshdynamics' Mobile Edge Node (MEN) software package creates multiple logical radios on one physical radio to deliver full mesh networking functionality for industrial vehicles and individuals moving at low to moderate speeds. Each MEN unit maintains its connection to the rest of the Meshdynamics network, moving transparently to new connections as necessary as the MEN or the rest of the network is in motion. The MEN software license package is delivered on the Ubiquiti Bullet™ hardware platform due to the need for an omni-directional antenna in the mobile environment.

Hybrid Edge Node Delivers Maximum Flexibility in Extended Networks

Meshdynamics' Hybrid Edge Node (HEN) software package combines all the features of the Mobile edge Node with the additional sophistication of hybrid networking that allows individuals to become their own backbone in extended situations. As an example, first responders fanning out at a disaster scene may soon move too far from a fixed MD4000 node. Hybrid Edge Nodes can "hop" from node to node in a "string of pearls" to extend the network connection far beyond the range of any single node.

Hybrid Edge Node units fully support Meshdynamics Persistent 3rd Generation Mesh (P3M) capabilities to allow clusters of nodes to separate from the main network while remaining in communication with one another. As individuals carrying these nodes return closer to the MD4000 node, the Hybrid Edge Nodes automatically rejoin the main network. The HEN software license package is typically delivered on the Ubiquiti Bullet™ hardware platform due to the need for an omnidirectional antenna in the mobile environment.

Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics, explained the new technology as an extension of Meshdynamics' core strengths. "Third-generation mesh technology has long been recognized as the best choice for outdoor enterprise mesh networks that must deliver high performance for real-time requirements like video and voice. Now we can extend these benefits cost effectively to the edge of the MD4000 network through software licenses running on off-the-shelf hardware." 

February 4, 2009 ActiveControl Related Links: Mining Solutions Web Page Miners Nod at Nodes
U.S. Government Approves Active Control's Wireless Mesh Communication & Tracking System For Mining
MSHA grants approval for ActiveMine™ Wi-Fi mesh network for installation in all U.S. underground mines


Active Control Technology Inc. (TSX-V:ACT) announced today that the U.S. Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has approved its ActiveMineTM wireless Wi-Fi mesh network system. ActiveMine, the premier wireless voice communications and locating system for mines, is now cleared for installation in all U.S. underground mines.

ActiveMine’s MSHA-approved 802.11 Wi-Fi mesh network is capable of handling voice communications, streaming video, real-time tracking and operational data. The system’s proven technology offers significantly greater sophistication and capabilities than any other mine communications and tracking system available today.

“MSHA approval means that our existing customers can now fully install the system to get the safety and operational benefits that supported their initial decision,” said Steve Barrett, President and CEO, ACT. “It also puts us on a stronger footing to generate more purchase orders in the U.S. and other countries. We wish to thank MSHA for their hard work and assistance through the approval process.”

The system’s functionality was certified by the state of West Virginia in June 2007. ACT received MSHA approval of its RFID Wi-Fi tracking tags in September 2008. The tags provide accurate real-time tracking of people and assets as well as an auxiliary two-way messaging capability to the surface.

ActiveMine is already operating successfully in non-gassy sections of three underground coal mines in West Virginia where systems were installed in May, August and December 2008. The company plans to install its MSHA approved infrastructure to complete network coverage at these mines. MSHA approval of ActiveMine’s Wi-Fi telephones is expected soon.
  
October 20, 2008 BusinessWire contains Illustration  Related Links: Military Solutions Web Page
Meshdynamics First With Persistent Voice Over Wireless Mesh
Distributed SIP Proxy and Back-up Registrar Functionality First On-Board Application

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Meshdynamics' new Persistent Baseline Voice (PBV) technology software option allows each of the company's MD4000 Third Generation wireless mesh nodes to function as a back-up Voice-over-IP (VoIP) server for mobile and highly survivable applications. The PBV option incorporates a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Proxy Agent to efficiently route SIP user agent and call set-up requests from Wi-Fi-connected handheld VoIP devices across the wireless network to any SIP Registrar.

As user agents (typically individual VoIP phones) register with the central server and call requests are received, each wireless mesh node is also automatically maintaining a list of voice devices, along with their location and address, in a Back-up SIP Registrar. The SIP information gleaned by each individual wireless mesh node is also shared with all other nodes in the network automatically to create a complete back-up SIP Registrar in every node. Voice traffic is automatically routed via the most efficient path through the network.

[See Illustration] If the wireless mesh network becomes divided, connection to the central SIP registrar may be lost. Without PBV, this would mean that no new voice calls could be initiated in the isolated segments of the mesh network. In many environments, such as underground mining and mobile military applications, this is unacceptable. But Persistent Baseline Voice technology allows new calls to continue to be made within the isolated network segments transparently to the user, who simply dials the usual extension number. One of the wireless mesh nodes in the isolated segment takes over as the SIP Registrar, "spoofing" the original SIP Registrar whose connection has been lost. This allows connectivity between all phones in the isolated segment in the normal fashion. Because the Back-up SIP Registrars in every node in the network have the same information, user devices may roam between the isolated segments and still connect as normal. When the connection between the isolated segments is restored and the original SIP Registrar is again available, the PBV Back-up Registrars immediately go off-line and return to listening mode.

Persistent Baseline Voice technology combines with another Meshdynamics software feature, Persistent Third Generation Mesh (P3M) to allow these segments to operate efficiently in isolation and immediately rejoin the original network as soon as possible. In a mobile environment, networks may form and reform as vehicles move in and out of range of one another. In an underground mining environment, each portion of the network isolated by a cave-in can remain active, with individual mine personnel remaining in voice contact through the PBV features.

Persistent Voice technology is the first of many applications which will operate on the Wireless Mesh Nodes alongside the mesh networking software. Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics, indicated that the company expects to incorporate a variety of applications required by users, such as sensor integration. "Our basic architecture has been designed to permit rapid development of additional functionality. There are many user needs that are best served by distributing the application through the mesh network and it will become an increasingly important distinction for our products. As we move beyond basic data transport, many of these on-board applications will integrate, classify, and distill data and events from the remote points to add intelligence and value to what is shared across the network."

The Persistent Baseline Voice software option is available now and priced at $300 per MD4000 wireless mesh node. Existing customers may contact the company to inquire about upgrades. 

Mon Oct 6, 2008 Reuters Related Links FIPS Certificate  Military Applications Web Page
Meshdynamics First to Deliver FIPS 140-2 with Third-Generation Mesh

Security Critical for Military and Homeland Defense Applications

Meshdynamics has completed rigorous third-party testing certifying its industry-leading MD4000 third generation Wi-Fi wireless mesh nodes as compliant with Level 1 and Level 2 of FIPS 140-2, the Federal Information Processing Standards publication for security requirements for cryptographic modules. This makes Meshdynamics the first vendor to combine the high performance of third-generation mesh for video, voice, and data with the Federal government's high standards for encryption and security.

The FIPS 140-2 publication describes multiple levels of security. Level 1 defines cryptographic support. Meshdynamics has incorporated a number of FIPS 140-2 compliant algorithms, including 128-bit AES-based encryption schemes for securing the management of the module, securing packets transported between nodes, and for securing pair-wise and group keys. Also supported are additional FIPS 140-2 specified algorithms for key generation, authentication, and hashing. These are in addition to the already-extensive list of secure protocols deployed in Meshdynamics' standard product line. Meshdynamics is also making available FIPS 140-2 Level 2 security, which entails securing the physical integrity of wireless mesh node enclosure with tamper-evident seals, protecting the plain text cryptographic keys and critical security parameters within the wireless mesh node from intrusion or tampering.

Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics, noted that the new security features are a natural outgrowth of the company's history of supplying critical military and government applications. "Our military customers have always valued our proven highest performance, especially over multiple hops. But now they can combine this performance with FIPS 140-2 Level 1 and Level 2 security in a single device."

FIPS 140-2 compliant MD4000 wireless mesh nodes are available now. Qualifying customers may contact the company for pricing and delivery information. 

September 02, 2008  BusinessWire Related Links Military Applications Web Page
Meshdynamics "On Target" for Military Vehicle Video 
Mobile High Performance Wireless Mesh Delivers High Performance on Gunnery Range

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Meshdynamics has teamed with Tactical Micro, Inc. of Fredericksburg, VA to deliver high performance wireless video streaming over a large outdoor military gunnery range in a recent successful trial. Meshdynamics MD4000 Wi-Fi wireless mesh nodes on each armored vehicle support tactical gun sight video cameras operating at up to 30 frames per second from multiple armored vehicles simultaneously. Fixed MD4000 nodes link the mobile nodes via fiber connections to a centralized Range Operations Center where the video is monitored and analyzed.

The armored vehicles move over a roughly two square mile area, traveling from one "Battle Point" to another. The fixed MD400 wireless mesh nodes are mounted on a number of towers, with the longest link to a moving vehicle typically about one mile. The MD4000 mobile wireless mesh nodes on each armored vehicle are equipped with a scanning radio that allows the mobile node to "see" the best available fixed tower signal even while the vehicle is moving at tactical speed.

Meshdynamics' patented and patent-pending mesh topology software is based on distributed dynamic radio intelligence. This turns each mobile node into a "radio robot" that allows the network to converge rapidly and for mobile nodes to associate almost instantaneously with a new fixed node with minimal gaps in the video stream. When an armored vehicle moves out of range of the fixed towers, it is also possible for it to find a link through a nearby mobile vehicle.

John Moulton, President of Tactical Micro, was looking for two distinct capabilities in considering wireless equipment for this application: high throughput, low delay and low jitter for best video performance; and robust fully mobile wireless connectivity. "As in many of our tactical video applications, our military customer in this case was demanding the highest possible quality to improve training effectiveness," said Moulton. "The ability to deliver that high quality real-time streaming video from mobile vehicles traveling over a large rugged gunnery range led us to Meshdynamics."

Meshdynamics MD4000 nodes have been used in a variety of tactical battlefield environments to transmit video, voice, and sensor data between moving armored vehicles. Meshdynamics Founder and CTO Francis daCosta noted, "Mobile military environments are well-suited for us, because they are increasingly requiring video and voice along with sensor and other data. This demands high-performance over many hops in full motion at high speeds, but our Third-generation wireless mesh technology delivers the necessary performance over a variety of frequency bands." 
  
August 06, 2008  Business Wire contains Illustration
Meshdynamics Delivers Persistent Wi-Fi Network for Mobile Environments
New Technology Delivers Industry's Highest Performance in Changing Topologies

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Meshdynamics has enhanced its industry-leading MD4000 third generation Wi-Fi wireless mesh nodes with new features offering better performance and reliability in mobile or mixed fixed/mobile environments. The new software, called Persistent 3rd-Generation Mesh (P3M) is intended for dynamic military, transportation, and public safety applications, as well as in critical applications such as mine safety.

In recent tests, the company demonstrated persistent high-throughput and low-delay and low-jitter networking as mobile wireless mesh nodes connected automatically with other mobile and fixed wireless mesh nodes. As some elements of the network moved out of Wi-Fi range from other nodes, they automatically formed into separate independent networks, allowing communication to continue. When brought back into range, these network elements seamlessly reconnected with the rest of the network. All of this occurred without any operator intervention or reconfiguration and the process takes place in a fraction of a second.

Meshdynamics MD4000 nodes are already being used in tactical battlefield environments to transmit video, voice, and sensor data between moving armored vehicles. The new P3M features now allow for smaller groups that become separated from the main formation or column to maintain the same high performance among themselves while isolated, and then automatically rejoin the larger force when they again come into range.

The P3M features have also been proven in demanding underground mining environments, where possible cave-ins and other disasters may lead to a section of the network becoming isolated from the main portion of the network. With P3M technology, miners in the isolated sections may still communicate with one another, providing persistent Voice-over-IP and location capabilities and potentially speeding rescue. Illustration

Third-generation now fully mobile

Third-generation wireless mesh networking has always delivered higher performance in rooted environments than does traditional wireless mesh technology. This is primarily achieved through imposing a logical Structured MeshTM topology on the mesh network, with uplink and downlink paths minimizing turnaround and multiple radios optimizing performance. Typically, the "uplink" and "downlink" determinations have been made by the nodes themselves at network start-up, based on the location of the fixed fiber or copper connection to the Internet or enterprise backbone.

But the new P3M technology allows the nodes to structure the network dynamically, even if there is no fixed connection anywhere in the network or if the fixed connection is lost. Patent-pending route-finding algorithms permit the nodes to establish the optimal topology rapidly and to reconfigure quickly as nodes move in relation to one another and any fixed points. This allows for persistent high-performance networking, regardless of the topology formed by the mobile nodes.

Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics, contrasted the new technology with earlier generations of mesh networking. "In the past, one had to choose between very dynamic any-to-any node connectivity and the higher performance of third-generation mesh technology, which is structured. P3M technology creates structured mesh networks that deliver high performance for real-time requirements like video and voice, but these networks can now form and re-form nearly instantaneously in mobile environments. The end result for the customer is all the performance of a rooted network, but in a completely mobile environment."

Most other third-generation mesh competitors rely on sectored antennas or other fixed means of establishing network topology. Instead, Meshdynamics uses distributed RF intelligence in each node to locate other network nodes, create links, select channels, and manage interference. This allows the network to respond rapidly to the changing conditions imposed by node mobility while preserving the 50X+ performance advantage of third-generation wireless mesh.

Persistent 3rd-generation mesh (P3M) technology is available now and included at no additional charge in Meshdynamics' current software release. Existing customers may contact the company to inquire about upgrades.

About Third-Generation Wireless Mesh

First-generation wireless mesh networking products serve both users and backhaul (node-to-node) connections with a single 802.11b radio. Easy to deploy, these solutions were popular in pioneering municipal deployments, but many users were disappointed by low bandwidth performance, excessive delay and jitter, and poor support of voice and video due to contention for the single radio channel. Second-generation wireless mesh products added a second radio to each node to segregate backhaul and service traffic, but contention still limits bandwidth and delay and jitter performance.

Third-generation wireless mesh networking solutions offer much higher performance, especially in multi-hop topologies, by providing multiple separate paths for backhaul communications as well as one or more service radios in each node. Meshdynamics is the first to accomplish this through dynamic channel-agile radio management. Unlike other hardware-focused solutions, Meshdynamics products offer the power of third-generation performance but deploy as easily as first-generation solutions. Delivered on 802.11 protocols today, Meshdynamics' radio-agnostic technology allows easy future migration to WiMAX and other radio technologies.

Unlike other third-generation solutions, Meshdynamics' technology is based on distributed radio-frequency software intelligence in each wireless mesh networking node, not expensive proprietary RF switching hardware, custom radios, or costly specialized antennas. This makes Meshdynamics' MD4000 family of Structured MeshTM wireless nodes extremely cost-effective compared to hardware-focused third generation solutions. 
 
Tue Jul 29, 2008 Reuters Related Links Spectralink Certification  VOIP Technology Web Page
Meshdynamics Receives Prestigious VIEW Certification 
Wireless Mesh Nodes Deliver High Voice Performance in Demanding Enterprise Environments
 
Meshdynamics(TM) MD4000 family of wireless mesh products has achieved VIEW (Voice Interoperability for Enterprise Wireless)
Certification from Polycom(R) for use with its SpectraLink(R) Wireless Telephones. Prior to formal VIEW certification, live testing of
interoperability between Meshdynamics wireless mesh nodes and SpectraLink handsets was conducted in severe underground mining
environments, among others.
 
Through extensive independent lab interoperability testing, Polycom's VIEW Certification Program guarantees excellent voice
quality on converged Wi-Fi networks. "SpectraLink Wireless Telephones are designed for high-use enterprise environments in which employee mobility, responsiveness, and productivity are essential. So our customers rely on the VIEW Certified seal of approval to know they'll get enterprise-grade voice quality and reliability," said Geri Mitchell-Brown, director of technical business development at Polycom "Meshdynamics wireless mesh nodes provide the low latency and low jitter necessary for reliable voice performance for Meshdynamics' outdoor enterprise customers."

Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics, noted that more of the company's customers are moving toward integrated voice, video, and data environments. "Enterprise customers expect to be able to extend their voice networks throughout the enterprise, including outdoor environments like mines, railway lines, materials processing plants, and outdoor sports venues. We are very pleased to be part of Polycom's VIEW Certification Program, because SpectraLink Wi-Fi telephony products are very highly regarded by our customers."

Meshdynamics' patented and patent-pending technology minimizes delay and jitter even over many hops (node-to-node links). The
company's third-generation wireless mesh technology utilizes multiple radios and distributed dynamic radio intelligence to deliver delays of less than 2 milliseconds per node. This high performance permits delivery of high quality voice- and video-over-IP across the extended distances typical of the outdoor enterprise. Meshdynamics' QoS and network tuning features support a wide variety of applications while insuring that the most critical traffic, such as voice, always receives the highest priority.

VIEW Certified versions of Meshdynamics wireless mesh node hardware and software are shipping now at no additional charge.
 
March 18 2008 NewsWire Related Links: Mining Solutions Web Page Miners Nod at Nodes
Active Control Signs $1.6 Million Exclusive Supply Agreement With Meshdynamics Inc.
Proprietary Rights of ActiveMine(TM) Technology Are Secured As Intrinsically Safe Certification Anticipated
 
TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - Active Control Technology Inc. (TSX-V:ACT),today announced that it has entered into a reseller agreement with Meshdynamics Inc., the developers and suppliers of ActiveMine's third generation mesh network nodes. The agreement includes a prepayment of USD $1.6 million in exchange for certain exclusive rights to mesh network nodes that incorporate Meshdynamics' proprietary patented and patent-pending Wi-Fi technology. The rights include the right to exclusively sell the nodes
to certain specified companies, including coal mines, non-coal mines and coal suppliers that are potential customers for the ActiveMine system and further guarantee ACT a supply of a minimum of 1,000 nodes. 
 
ACT has the option to acquire up to 2,000 additional nodes upon further payments. ACT will outsource the manufacturing of the nodes directly using the Meshdynamics technology. The agreement with Meshdynamics will result in a savings to ACT on a per node basis and will secure ACT's access to Meshdynamics' proprietary Wi-Fi technology during the two year term of the reseller agreement. Management estimates that 40 nodes are required on average per underground coal mine in the U.S. The outsourced California-based contract manufacturer of the mesh nodes has the capacity to produce up to 3,000 nodes per month. 
 
"We are very pleased with our partnership with Meshdynamics and we are grateful for all of their support," said Steve Barrett, President and CEO, Active Control. "We also anticipate that ActiveMine's superior tracking, voice, video and data transmission capabilities will continue to garner sales in the USA and internationally. Solidifying our relationship with Meshdynamics will ensure continuity of supply for this key component of the ActiveMine system." 
  
Concurrently, ACT is moving to convert its international patent application covering aspects of the ActiveMine system into national patent applications in Australia, China, Canada and South Africa. ACT already has such a patent application before the US patent office and ACT may elect to pursue other national patent applications at a later date. The national patent applications will make reference to certain preliminary findings in a written opinion by the international patent office that were favorable towards ACT's prospects of securing a patent over various aspects of the ActiveMine system. ActiveMine's communications, data and tracking system enables monitoring of production, personnel and equipment in all types of surface and underground mining environments, including coal and base metal mines.
 
March 27, 2008 BusinessWire
Meshdynamics ''Mines'' New Outdoor Wireless Enterprise Opportunity
Agreement With Active Control Technology to Deploy Wireless Mesh for Mine Safety, Communications

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Meshdynamics and Active Control Technology (ACT) finalized a deal this month to license Meshdynamics' industry-leading Third Generation wireless mesh technology for mining applications. ACT will incorporate up to 3,000 nodes into the company's ActiveMine™ solution, a communications, data and tracking system that enables monitoring of production, personnel and equipment in all types of surface and underground mining environments, including coal, non-coal and base metal mines. As part of the agreement, ACT has pre-paid for the first 1,000 software licenses and has received exclusive rights to sell ActiveMine and Meshdynamics standard MD4000 wireless mesh nodes to a defined list of North American and international customers.

Meeting government mandates for mining safety and communications

Preserving the safety of underground mine personnel has been an important focus of government and industry. In the aftermath of the Sago mine disaster, the US Government set in place a timetable for underground coal mining operations to upgrade procedures, equipment, and technology with the passage of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act in 2006. One of the major elements of the MINER act is the requirement to provide a wireless two-way medium of communications and tracking of individuals by June 2009. Key to this requirement is a wireless communication system that provides two-way communications between underground and surface personnel and an electronic tracking system that allows surface personnel to determine the location of any persons trapped underground.

After investigating a number of well-known wireless mesh technology vendors, ACT chose Meshdynamics' Wi-Fi wireless mesh technology. "Our ActiveMine solution demands high performance over many node-to-node hops," noted Steve Barrett, President and CEO of ACT. "Meshdynamics proved they could deliver high quality voice over IP and personnel tracking data over long distances in working underground coal mines in multiple pilot and production network installations. We anticipate that ActiveMine's superior tracking, voice, video and data transmission capabilities will continue to garner sales in the USA and internationally. Solidifying our relationship with Meshdynamics will ensure continuity of supply for this key component of the ActiveMine system."

Third-Generation wireless mesh performance for voice and critical data

The Meshdynamics network infrastructure allows for reliable two-way voice over IP communications and Wi-Fi location tracking providing the core communications infrastructure not only for human-to-human but also for machine-to-machine interactions that provide for centralized indications of network health, battery performance, etc. Unlike earlier wireless mesh solutions, Meshdynamics' patented and patent-pending Third-Generation technology employs multiple radios and distributed intelligence in each node to minimize delay and jitter, even over a dozen or more hops. "Almost any mesh technology can deliver simple web surfing," said Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics. "But voice and video over multiple hops brings most mesh networks to their knees. Our MD4000 wireless mesh nodes are being used in dozens of demanding networks today where other mesh products failed."

Mining and other Enterprise applications growing quickly

Meshdynamics technology is being used in underground and surface mining opportunities around the world. These include support of video for remote operation of mining machines in underground environments as well as video, voice, and tracking data applications in very large surface mines. These and other emerging opportunities underscore Meshdynamics' continuing success in the wireless outdoor enterprise market. "Muni applications have garnered all the headlines," noted Meshdynamics' daCosta, "But enterprise applications like mining, security, and military mobility are growing much faster than the muni market. Our capabilities in voice, video, and node mobility are beginning to bear fruit with network wins in many demanding environments." 
 
April 21, 2008 BusinessWire
High Performance Outdoor Wireless Links Oil Exploration Enterprise
Meshdynamics Wireless Mesh Nodes Network Moveable Oil Drilling Rigs for Efficient Operations

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Modern oil exploration is increasingly a network-intensive enterprise. MedcoEnergi, a leading oil and gas drilling and exploration group is the parent company of Medco LLC, which operates oil drilling rigs in the Karim Small Fields area in the Sultanate of Oman. Medco wished to establish a reliable and robust wireless network capable of seamlessly connecting the rigs to the main camp office for the transmission of sensitive drilling data, Internet, email and providing for future voice and video. Increasing the challenge, the rigs move around an area of 250 square miles (650 square kilometers) typically every 15-20 days.

Hussam Technology Company LLC (HTC) based in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, was chosen by Medco to evaluate, design, and provide a turnkey solution. HTC selected Meshdynamics’ MD4000 Third Generation Structured Mesh™ wireless solution for providing the wireless network infrastructure and designed a complete solution including solar power systems and towers.

High performance links over long hops

The resulting successful Medco deployment is a unique wireless network connecting the various oil drilling rigs to the main camp office. The mesh network consists of wireless hops every seven to nine kilometers consisting of both point-to-point links and point-to-multipoint links. The Meshdynamics network cost-effectively delivers the real-time critical data that Medco requires to ensure operational efficiency. Meshdynamics MD4000 nodes operate in a wide variety of frequency ranges, but the 5.8GHz band was chosen for this installation as higher transmit power was permitted in that spectrum by the local Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

The Meshdynamics patented and patent-pending technology links the drilling rigs with bandwidths of 36Mbps to 54Mbps. This enables seamless email and Internet connections and the exchange of drilling information between the rigs, the local office, and corporate headquarters, even over long distances and changing network topologies. Meshdynamics' QoS and network tuning features support a wide variety of applications while insuring that the most critical data always receives the highest priority.

Crucial communications in harsh environment

The Meshdynamics equipment must operate in a very demanding weather and physical environment, yet be easily transportable and quick to set-up. The MD4000 wireless mesh family supports up to four radios in a rugged weatherproof enclosure about the size of a hardbound novel, ideal for Medco's demanding application. Solar power systems were installed at a number of locations to power the mesh nodes.

Reliable, instant connectivity is vital to oil and gas producers. Disruptions or delays in critical communications can prove extremely costly and can result in risks to workers, equipment and operations. The Meshdynamics network cost-effectively delivers high performance voice, video and data services under changing and sometimes hostile conditions.

Meshdynamics outdoor wireless enterprise networks in natural resource applications

Meshdynamics wireless mesh technology is being deployed in a variety of exploration and extraction environments. "Our business continues to grow with natural resources enterprises", noted Francis daCosta, CTO of Meshdynamics. "Our customers now include seismic exploration, coal mining, hardrock mining, and petroleum exploration firms worldwide. These markets are growing rapidly with these industries' increased focus on worker safety and efficiency."
 
11 December, 2008 Computer World Related Links: Mining Solutions Web Page Miners Nod at Nodes
APPLICON teams with Meshdynamics to produce cutting edge wireless technology
US military and surveillance technology excels Australia’s wireless communications
 
Sydney, Australia – 11 December 2008 – Applicon, an Australian business leader in wireless communication technologies today announce its partnership with Meshdynamics, a global leading specialist in wireless mesh technology. The partnership will see Applicon introduce cutting edge technology into its wireless solutions offerings to create one of Australia’s leading wireless service providers, currently used by Rio Tinto and WA Police.

“We are very exited about this partnership which we believe will strengthen Applicon’s position at the very top of Australia’s Wireless Communication providers. The applications for wireless and mesh technologies have evolved enormously and Meshdynamics are at the forefront of this evolution providing customers with innovative solutions”, said Armagan Cetindas, National Sales Manager, Applicon.

Unlike earlier generation technology, Meshdynamics’ Third Generation products use multiple backhaul radios and dynamic interference avoidance. This means easy installation, high bandwidth and low latency for demanding voice and video applications. It also means that Meshdynamics’ nodes provide more coverage and requires fewer wired (Ethernet) connections than competing products.

Meshdynamics’ products are currently deployed in challenging applications where other mesh products have failed. Applications include border security, video surveillance, mining, military and high speed mobility. Meshdynamics’ mobility nodes are currently employed by the US military and US allies, providing superior connectivity even at high speeds.

"We are extremely impressed with the mesh networking applications and support core competency at Applicon", said Byron Henderson, Vice President of Marketing at Meshdynamics. "We look forward to them extending our North American success to the Australian and Southeast Asian markets, especially in mining and public safety."
     
Sept. 25, 2007 Mobile Devices & Design
Rail and military applications boosted through Wi-Fi node mobility

Meshdynamics' MD4000 family of wireless mesh networking nodes has demonstrated new mobility capabilities in technical pilot trials in high-speed rail and military applications. In the rail application, a series of MD4000 wireless mesh nodes deployed lineside along the tracks was able to communicate with additional MD4000 nodes installed on railcars moving at speeds more than 100 mph. This successful pilot paves the way for deployment of commuter Wi-Fi services inside the moving railcars, IP video surveillance of rail car interiors, and safety-related driver video of station platform approaches, among others.

The military application supported threat sensors in a deployed combat environment. Meshdynamics MD4000 nodes mounted on moving vehicles were able to maintain seamless communications as the vehicles moved about in the terrain. Although the network topology changed continuously, significantly, and unpredictably, communication between the networked sensors was maintained through the MD4000 wireless mesh network.

While the Wi-Fi 802.11 specifications implicitly provide for client mobility, in most cases wireless mesh node mobility has been limited to low-performance single radio ad hoc mesh solutions. Higher-performance third-generation wireless mesh products often require extensive site engineering and aiming of directional antennas, which precludes node mobility. Moving any node would break its connection with the rest of the network.

Meshdynamics' enhanced performance in high-speed mobility applications is due to dynamic distributed radio intelligence in each wireless mesh node. In essence, Meshdynamics has created a wireless radio "robot" in each node, managing topology and channel selection in an independent but coordinated fashion with the rest of the network.

This distributed dynamic radio intelligence is combined with a scanning radio in each mobile wireless mesh node. The scanning radio constantly monitors the environment for interference sources and other Meshdynamics wireless mesh nodes that are part of the same network. This capability allows the moving node to communicate its switchover from a node it is leaving to a node it is approaching. This seamless hand-off from node to node allows commuters in a railcar to maintain uninterrupted Internet sessions at speeds up to and beyond 250 mph (400 kph).

Because the enhanced mobility features for the MD4000 family are primarily software-based, the capabilities are available for all current and future supported radio protocols. Besides Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g, mobility features are also supported for the company's new 4.9 GHz public safety band radios, for applications such as mobile first responder and security vehicles.

Mobility-enhanced software features are production-released and available now. Scanning radio-equipped nodes are also shipping. Pricing and delivery information is available directly from Meshdynamics. 
 
Oct 1, 2007 Urgent Communications Related Links: Public Safety Solutions Web Page 
Distributed mesh system supports public-safety communications

Meshdynamics of Santa Clara, Calif., announced the addition of 4.9 GHz radio technology to its line of MD4000 Wi-Fi wireless-mesh nodes to support the public-safety communications sector. According to Francis daCosta, the company's chief technology officer, the MD4000 employs separate radios for wireless backhaul and client access. Specifically, it combines licensed and unlicensed radio technologies in a single node, with two modular slots used for the 802.11a/b/g-compliant backhaul radios that operate at 5.8 GHz or 2.4 GHz. The system is protocol-agnostic, and because it is based on a multiradio platform, users can mix and match radios in several combinations, daCosta said. For example, one set of nodes can simultaneously serve public-works users as well as first responders. In addition, traffic can be pushed aside automatically so the full bandwidth can be used to serve first responders in the field. The same enclosure might house up to four modular radios to meet a variety of applications without the need to install a different chassis.

The system also is automated and self-healing, daCosta said, as the nodes are programmed to listen to the environment, determine interference sources and locate other nodes when necessary. At the same time, the company's proprietary dynamic distributed-radio intelligence lets available channels be reused to increase performance in the overall network and supports the reuse of channels in larger networks with a throughput delay of 2 milliseconds or less per node, he said.

“It's a very interesting application of a distributed intelligence model,” daCosta said. “It's the reason we can put nodes in motion. For example, in border security we have these in Humvees driving at high speed, and they can stay in communication because the nodes are constantly listening to the environment.” The MD4000 starts at $2400.
 
October 26, 2007 Radio Resource Media Group
Border Security Applications and Solutions

Meshdynamics recently designed a series of fixed-location MD4000 mesh nodes that provide connectivity to additional MD4000 mobile-mesh nodes in security vehicles where border agents may access a variety of applications. The network consists of both fixed and mobile nodes operating at both 5.8 GHz and 2.4 GHz using 802.11a and b. The fixed nodes are located on towers along the border and some are deployed with sectored antennas for long-distance connections. Backhaul node-to-node distances range up to 14.4 miles, although most are in the 3- to 4-mile range.

Some of the wireless mesh sites are so remote that there is no AC power supply, so solar arrays, wind power, and batteries power the equipment. Specialized support in the nodes for long-distance 802.11 connectivity allows links to operate at up to 54 Megabits per second (Mbps), according to company executives.

The DHS created a task group to provide cross-border communications interoperability by connecting communications centers in the United States and Mexico. The mobile nodes are mounted in security vehicles and provide connectivity to agents’ data terminals. Each mobile-wireless mesh node includes a scanning radio, which allows the connectivity for security applications.

“Over many hops, only third-generation (3G) architectures provide enough bandwidth with low jitter and delay at the distant end of the network,” says Francis daCosta, founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of Meshdynamics. “But most 3G solutions depend on fixed-link and channel configurations. The border network’s high-speed mobility requirement mandates more channel management and topology intelligence in each mode.”

The pilot network was recently expanded since its production deployment in January 2006, and future phases will include wireless connectivity to agents’ PCs and PDAs. The solution provides a foundation for expanding border-security applications, executives say.
 
November 20, 2007. ActiveControl
ACTIVE CONTROL RECEIVES FIRST OF FIVE PURCHASE ORDERS FROM MAGNUM COAL, TOTALING $1.8 MILLION
Company selects ActiveMine system for wireless voice and data communications and tracking in five mines
 
Active Control Technology Inc. (TSX-V:ACT) announced today that it has received the first of five purchase orders for ActiveMineTM, the company’s two-way wireless voice communications, tracking and data system, from Charleston, West Virginia-based Magnum Coal. The total value of all five orders is $1.8 million.
 
Magnum, a major coal mine operator, will place ActiveMine in five of its West Virginia mines. The company expects to complete the installations within the timeframe mandated under state regulations.
 
The order, which is subject to certain conditions including regulatory approval of ActiveMine by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), will proceed initially with an installation in one mine. ActiveMine will be installed in the other four mines after the first system becomes fully functional. “We look forward to delivering the safety and operational benefits of ActiveMine to each of the five mines,” said Steve Barrett, President and CEO, Active Control. “At the same time, we remain fully engaged in discussions for additional purchases with other mine operators in West Virginia and other states.”
 
ActiveMine’s communications, data and tracking system enables monitoring of production, personnel and equipment in all types of surface and underground mining environments, including coal and base metal mines. The system is designed to:
• Operate on a 100 percent wireless Wi-Fi network backbone.
• Be less susceptible to water and mechanical damage of all sorts, including rock fall.
• Use open-standards technology.
• Meet federal MINER Act requirements for wireless systems as established in MSHA policies.
• Provide four-day intrinsically safe battery back-up and power supply.

About Active Control Technology: ACT designs and markets wireless network control and communication systems for buildings and extreme environments. Located in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, the company trades publicly on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol ACT. For more information, visit the company's website at www.activecontrol.com.
 
December 03, 2007 Reuters Related Links: Hastily Formed Solutions Web Page 
Meshdynamics Scores with Outdoor Sports Network
Third-Generation Wi-Fi Wireless Mesh Powers Scoreboards Bringing Fans Closer to the Game

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Every week during the season, fans gather at a different outdoor venue for events scheduled by a global professional sporting organization. Besides a glimpse of their favorite players, fans want access to constantly updated scores and standings. The sporting organization positions large scoreboards around the event to provide these statistics, but connecting the displays to the scoring computers required a high performance wireless network that was fast to set up and easy to manage.

Dozens of Meshdynamics MD4000 Wi-Fi Wireless Mesh nodes are now being deployed each week around the event locations, creating a high-performance, low-latency and low-jitter infrastructure connecting the scoreboards to powerful computers processing scoring data from around the venue. The sporting organization maintains multiple sets of nodes: while one is being set up and used, another is in transit to the next event.

High performance and fast set-up key to application

When the sports organization began to consider a change from the existing First-Generation wireless mesh supplier, higher performance was the goal. But because the equipment must be installed, tested, and operated for one event, and then removed and transported weekly to the next location on the schedule, fast set-up was mandatory. Although the network was initially intended to support only a single application, the sports organization was pleased to find that the Meshdynamics network installed even more quickly than the First-Generation Wi-Fi mesh it was tested against and will also provide the higher performance needed to support additional new applications.

Meshdynamics MD4000 Wireless Mesh nodes use dynamic distributed radio intelligence technology that allows each node to choose its best channel and connection path to minimize interference from other Meshdynamics nodes or external interference sources. "Multi-radio Third-Generation wireless mesh is a must for demanding data and video applications," noted Francis daCosta, Founder and CTO of Meshdynamics. "But where mobility or fast set-up is also required, only wireless mesh with intelligent channel management and dynamic topology makes sense."

This is just one of numerous competitive situations where Meshdynamics has won against a deployed competitor or in a competitive head-to-head test. "When we have the chance to compete, we usually win," claimed daCosta. "The performance gain over earlier technologies is just that compelling for the typical outdoor enterprise."

Managing spectrum in a busy environment

The outdoor scoreboards are distributed around the venue so that they may be viewed from many vantage points. Depending on the topology of an individual location, from 15 to 30 wireless mesh nodes are needed to provide complete coverage. In order to avoid the most common interference sources and to provide access to the largest number of unlicensed channels, 802.11a Wi-Fi at 5.8GHz is used for all connections. Meshdynamics wireless mesh nodes constantly monitor the RF environment, seamlessly moving segments of the network to new channel maps if necessary. The integrity and timeliness of data delivery is critical to fans, broadcasters, and corporate partners, so it's important that the Meshdynamics equipment manages very congested RF Spectrum more reliably than did the sports organization's earlier solutions.

And while it's obvious that there are no wired Internet connections at an outdoor sporting event, even AC power can be in short supply. The sporting organization appreciated the small footprint of Meshdynamics' MD4000 wireless mesh nodes. The units are physically small and their power draw is low, so some are powered from batteries and solar cells, helping speed network deployment.

Expanding future applications on Meshdynamics wireless mesh infrastructure

While the primary application today is connecting the outdoor scoreboards, the sporting organization plans to move many of its wireless applications away from costly licensed spectrum and onto the Meshdynamics MD4000 wireless mesh networks. Consolidating all of the wireless connectivity on the Meshdynamics wireless mesh will save recurring costs and set-up time while increasing reliability. 
 
July 31, 2006 Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Related Links: Rural Areas and Small Towns Solutions Web Page 
Mountain Resort Town Upgrades Muni Mesh for ''Peak'' Performance;
Third-Generation Wireless Mesh Offers Welcome Replacement in Multi-Hop Environment; New Features Announced
RED RIVER, N.M. & SANTA CLARA Santa Clara, city, Cuba

Underscoring the growing trend to move to next generation mesh networks, the municipality of Red River, New Mexico 
has replaced its existing wireless mesh network (1) A network that relies on all nodes to propagate signals. Although the wireless signal may start at some base station (access point) attached to a wired network, a wireless mesh network extends the transmission distance by relaying the signal from one computer to another. in favor of a third generation network from Meshdynamics. The newly deployed mesh network, which serves up to 15,000 people in the resort town, solves the "multi-hop" challenges that first and second generation mesh networks initially deployed in municipalities could not handle.
 
"One might not expect a resort town high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains to be a municipality that would require an upgrade to the latest generation of wireless mesh networking, but performance is extremely important to our community," said Keith Hall, President of Enchanted Circle Communications,"We had deployed a second-generation wireless mesh See wireless mesh network. product, but the performance wasn't adequate over multiple hops. We couldn't afford to dig trenches or string new aerial cables to provide better performance through more wired connections, so we went looking for an alternative that would work for our customers."

Hall's customers are the owners and guests of Red River, a beautiful resort town, nestled in a long valley at over 8600 feet in elevation. "Although our guests primarily come to enjoy skiing in the winter and hunting, fishing, hiking and camping the rest of the year, they still want their Internet access See how to access the Internet. ," noted Hall. "Since our population swells to over 15,000 during peak periods, we need plenty of networking capacity to satisfy their performance expectations. But because the permanent population is much smaller, the cost of wired connections to each property is prohibitive."

Third-generation Meshdynamics solution provides high performance over multiple hops

"With Wi-Fi meshes poised to cover essentially every major metropolitan area everywhere over the next decade, a key question facing decision makers is how to provision enough capacity for the long term," said Craig Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group (Ashland, MA). "Capacity is vital as these networks take on roles ranging from municipal IT to monitoring, control, telemetry telemetry

Highly automated communications process by which data are collected from instruments located at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for measurement, monitoring, display, and recording. , voice and multimedia, and, of course, consumer and business applications. This state of affairs demands an architecture that embodies both multiple radios per node and advanced routing protocols -- the two keys to success."

Red River selected Meshdynamics' MD4000 family of Structured Mesh(TM) wireless nodes as a replacement for the earlier-generation wireless mesh solution. Red River is long and narrow with the wired Internet connection located near the extreme southeast end of town which requires six hops to reach the other end of town. The existing wireless mesh product could not provide adequate performance over this many hops at busy periods.

Because the MD4000 only adds 1 millisecond One thousandth of a second of delay per hop and offers more consistent bandwidth over the network, Enchanted Circle Communications is able to provide the same service levels anywhere in the city. In addition, a viewer-controlled surveillance camera is installed at the MD4000 node two hops from the wired connection so that skiers are able to check ski conditions Noun 1. ski conditions - the amount and state of snow for skiing
condition, status - a state at a particular time; "a condition (or state) of disrepair"; "the current status of the arms negotiations" from their cabin. Permanent residents, merchants, and visitors may access the network with their own 802.11b client devices such as laptops and PDAs. Backhaul (node-to-node) connections are via 802.11a for highest performance and channel flexibility. Omni-directional antennas were used for both 802.11b service and 802.11a backhaul to ease installation.

"Wireless mesh was the only viable solution for our network," said Hall, "but the performance of the first wireless mesh product we tried was so disappointing, we almost gave up. Meshdynamics products have done well in our mountain climate, both winter and summer, and the installation was very straightforward. It's been a boost to our ISP Connection to the user is provided via dial-up, ISDN, cable, DSL and T1/T3 lines. revenue and makes our resort more attractive to visitors and potential owners."

New security and performance features announced

Meshdynamics, Inc. the leader in third-generation wireless mesh products for high performance data, video, and voice applications, also announced new features in its MD4000 family of Structured Mesh(TM) wireless nodes to bolster security and fine-tune performance in demanding outdoor 802.11 Wi-Fi networks. The two features include support for IEEE  802.11e Class-of-Service and expanded Wi-Fi Protected Access security. The combination of these two features allows network providers to offer different service types securely on a single wireless mesh infrastructure.

Supporting high-priority traffic in a mixed environment requires 802.11e and third-generation mesh

As municipalities move beyond the first wave of trials and to actual deployment, it is becoming necessary to provide a differentiation of services to different types of users. For example, a municipality might want to offer a low-performance solution as free metro access, while making it possible for a commercial Wireless Internet Service provider Internet service provider (ISP)  In addition, government and public safety agencies may desire wireless 802.11 communications in an area. Until now, the difficulty has been that earlier-generation wireless mesh products were limited by the contention inherent in 802.11 networks. Low-bit-rate devices may lock out other users for long periods of time, higher densities of users may cause congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.

Meshdynamics provides the four Classes-of-Service defined by the 802.11e standard, but goes beyond basic implementation of the standard in providing capabilities to "throttle back" lower priority users.

"It's like cars on a multi-lane freeway," said Francis daCosta, founder and CTO (Chief Technical Officer) The executive responsible for the technical direction of an organization. See CIO and salary survey. of Meshdynamics. "It's not enough simply to have different lanes. For example, when an emergency vehicle needs access on the Freeway, its lights and siren move other traffic to the shoulder. We can do the same thing with higher priority traffic. This is only possible by combining 802.11e with our third-generation backhaul capabilities that provide consistent high performance with low delay and jitter A flicker or fluctuation in a transmission signal or display image. The term is used in several ways, but it always refers to some offset of time and space from the norm. For example, in a network transmission, jitter would be a bit arriving either ahead or behind a standard clock cycle ."

Meshdynamics combines 802.11e Class-of-Service capabilities with the ability to provision separate Virtual LANs (vLANs) and SSIDs (Service Set Identifiers) to offer the maximum in performance tuning and security throughout the network. These features allow network providers to serve a variety of different constituents on the same wireless mesh infrastructure.

Enhanced security for critical networks

"Although we developed it first for a military customer, WPA2 is being used wherever data security is critical," notes daCosta. "A number of our recent installations are in homeland security and border applications for video surveillance and security team access and WPA2 support with AES is essential."

03/28/2005 Wireless Design 
Multi-Radio Meshes Best for City Wi-Fi: The use of a multi-radio, multi-channel relay architecture is by far the most effective means of providing the performance required for VoIP and data coverage.
Wireless Net Design Line, Authors: Francis daCosta, Sriram Dayanandan 
 
For city-wide Wi-Fi deployments, greater performance and scalability is achieved by discarding the ad hoc military mesh paradigm where all nodes have one mesh radio, and all mesh radios are on the same channel. The use of a multi-radio, multi-channel relay architecture is by far the most effective means of providing the performance required for VoIP and data coverage.

Mesh networking, as a concept and technology, was developed for the military so that nodes could come together on the battlefield, communicate, and then disperse. The focus was temporary peer-to-peer connectivity on an impromptu, ad hoc basis, in contrast to today's city-wide mesh where most paths lead to the Internet.

This approach resulted in a paradigm that is still used by the majority of mesh suppliers today: All radios participating in the mesh are on the same channel (frequency), and for each node only one radio participates in the mesh. Thus, any node can communicate with any other nodes as long as they are within range of each other.

This approach has two drawbacks that cause performance degradation as packets travel more hops, and as more clients request service from each node--the one-radio effect and the involuntary bandwidth sharing effect. Both of these effects can be mitigated by a move to a multi-radio, multi-channel approach.

The radios in a mesh network must perform two functions. They must provide service to their clients and they must provide a path to the wired network in a relay fashion through the mesh. The provision of this path to the wired network is referred to as the backhaul or relay path. In traditional meshes, a single radio provides both of these services. In other cases, more than one radio is used for the relay function (Figure 1). 

Figure 1: Three competing mesh architectures (L-R): One-radio, 1+1 and multi-radio meshed backhaul. [Figure available Here]

With just one radio devoted to the relay function, a mesh node cannot send and receive packets and the same time. When looked at from the perspective of a single node, this will reduce the bandwidth through that node by 50 percent. After four hops, a user would be left with one-sixteenth of the bandwidth. Thus, bandwidth in single-radio meshes can be expressed as 1/(2N) where N equals the number of hops.

Conventional mesh providers concede that their products suffer from bandwidth degradation with each hop. However, some claim that if the hops between mesh nodes are large enough in distance, there could be simultaneous conversations along a path through the mesh and that bandwidth degradation is closer to 1/N than 1/2N. This is not the case, however, since in a modern city-wide mesh the vast majority of packet transfers require connection to the Internet.

An independent study indicates a degradation of 1/(1.68)n for typical mesh topologies1. However, for the sake of this analysis, we shall use the more conservative 1/N scaling factor to minimize the controversy.

There are two primary alternatives to the one-radio mesh network. In a so-called 1+1 mesh each node contains two separate radios, one to provide service to the clients and one for backhaul. These two radios may operate in different bands. Typically a 2.4-GHz 802.11 b/g radio is used for service and a 5-GHz 802.11a radio is used for backhaul.

The 1+1 approach improves performance compared to a one-radio approach; however, it still suffers from the one-radio effect. Packets traveling toward the Internet share bandwidth at each hop along the backhaul path with traffic coming back from the Internet to clients.

A three-radio approach dynamically manages channels of all of the radios to keep them on non-interfering channels. In the three-radio configuration, two radios provide the relay functions and the other radio provides service to clients. With two backhaul radios, nodes can send and receive packets at the same time, thus eliminating the one-radio effect and related 1/N bandwidth and interference losses.

Bandwidth-Sharing Effect
Because 802.11 is a shared medium clients get a piece of a piece of the total available bandwidth. Thus conventional single radio meshes are severely limited beyond two or three hops for applications requiring either significant bandwidth or low latency.

In a 1+1 mesh, data enters the service radio and is transferred to the backhaul mesh through a bridge. Packets are then subject to contention with neighboring mesh radios because they operate on the same channel. How many neighboring nodes are in contention depends on the mesh topology.

In an urban mesh deployment where nodes typically are placed at road intersections, each node will contend with at least three other nodes as it attempts to relay packets. A 1+1 mesh used in such a deployment will only have a quarter of its potential bandwidth at peak times when a total of four nodes will be sharing the same channel.

A Comparative Analysis

We conducted a comparative analysis of one-, 1+1 and three-radio meshes. For each architecture, we compared the fraction of root node bandwidth available to a client (N) hops away where there are on average (C) clients per node demanding simultaneous access.

We ignored the effect of bandwidth sharing with some neighboring mesh nodes for the simple one-radio approach since it just makes already low performance numbers look lower. In addition, we used the 1/N per hop bandwidth degradation for the one-radio effect as opposed to the more realistic 1/2N number. In the case of the 1+1 mesh, we assumed four neighboring nodes as typical for an urban grid.

Our analysis showed that with five simultaneous clients per mesh node, both the one-radio and the 1+1 mesh cannot provide usable bandwidth beyond two or three hops in cases of realistic traffic. Specifically, the 1+1 mesh with a 54 Mbits/second 802.11a backhaul provides 42 Kbits/s of service to a client four hops away from the root. This is essentially equivalent to the bandwidth of a dial up network, barely usable for applications such as voice over IP.

Counting Costs
 

Obviously adding a radio or two to a mesh node adds some additional cost. All else being equal, each radio probably adds another $150 (radio + pigtail + antenna), to the BOM and $450 to the list price. That means an average node might cost $3,000 in a one-radio architecture, $3,450 in a 1+1 mesh, and $3,900 in a three-radio approach.

It should be noted that in a dense city-wide mesh where many high-rise buildings create the urban-canyon effect, you need to place a mesh node at each intersection to implement ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage. In addition, one-radio and 1+1 meshes need to be connected to an Internet feed or backhaul more often than does a three-radio mesh.

Backhaul connections can be implemented in many ways and their cost can vary from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Let's arbitrarily assume it is $5,000 per feed and that in this case there are no monthly service charges per feed.

In this example, even with a cost per backhaul feed of only $5,000, the deployment cost is lower with a three-radio mesh. However, the real benefit of a three-radio system is shown when the bandwidth delivered is taken into effect. The three-radio mesh delivers $329/Kbyte/User. This is 5.5x better than the 1+1 solution and 8.5x better than traditional 1-radio mesh.

Most of the deployments of mesh today have been for police and fire departments setting up relatively small scale ad hoc networks in low traffic situations. One- and 1+1 radio approaches can work acceptably in such environments, but bandwidth falls off a cliff when the numbers of simultaneous users and resultant traffic increase. As service providers begin to deploy these kinds of meshes for metro-scale Wi-Fi networks they are beginning to learn this lesson the hard way.