Wireless mesh networks employ an intelligent networking design, in which all possible paths are available to transport data from one point in the network to another. This has a number of advantages over more traditional networks, in which everything has to connect directly via Wi-Fi to a small number of centralized internet access points. Here are four reasons enterprise deployments, especially sports arenas, schools, hospitals and outdoor events would find value in wireless mesh networking.
1. No More Bottleneck
Because a mesh network provides multiple possible paths for transferring data from point A to point B, the network will preferentially use the fastest most efficient path. But if that path becomes blocked or congested for some reason, alternate paths can be and are used instead. This intentional redundancy at the information transfer level means improved network up-time since problems, when they arise, are more localized in their consequences rather that affecting the whole network. The “bottleneck” problem is avoided. Though mesh networks have tended so far to be adopted by non-business clients, there are many good reasons why a mesh network make great business sense.
2. Completely Wireless Connection
In a mesh network, mesh nodes connect wirelessly to each other in an intelligent fashion. While in a traditional network all Wi-Fi access points need to be physically connected to the hardware internet access point, in a mesh network, as long as one node is connected, all nodes will share this connectivity equally. It doesn't matter where the connection point is as long as somewhere in the mesh network there is physical access. Mesh nodes use existing Wi-Fi standards to communicate and you can keep adding them in any way you wish.
3. Improved Failure Mode Handling
When something does fail in the network, the mesh network design means communications keep flowing even as the failing node is being repaired. A node going down that is in the most direct path between two points may lead to slightly lower performance while it is repaired, as slightly less efficient paths are taken instead, but this is vastly preferable to the whole network being incapacitated while service is being performed.
4. Ease of Network Expansion or Contraction
A mesh network can be expanded more easily into new areas than a traditional network, which is why mesh networks have already become very popular in non-commercial and residential applications, where there is often no clear long-term plan and networks are being added to gradually and continually. But it is precisely this flexibility that businesses can benefit from too, as there is no longer a need to have one-time large expenditures on networking expansion, when a more gradual enlargement – or contraction – of your network may be the better course of action. That's another benefit of a mesh system – as you retire components for any reason, you do not disable your entire network by taking some parts from it.
The era of mesh networking is here! Contact Hummingbird Networks to find out if a mesh network is right for your business.