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Advantages of Wireless Mesh | disadvantages of Wireless Mesh

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Wireless Mesh Network and its basics. It mentions benefits or advantages of Wireless Mesh and drawbacks or disadvantages of Wireless Mesh.

What is Wireless Mesh?

There are different network topology types viz. star, tree and mesh as shown in the figure-1. Wireless mesh network is composed of wireless nodes connected together as per mesh topology. Due to its structure, it is also called wireless ad-hoc network.

The wireless mesh network operates without the need of any infrastructure. They are also called as self organizing network. They are also known as multi-hopped networks. In the mesh network, two nodes either communicate directly or through other nodes on the path/route.

network topology types

We will understand basics of wireless mesh type with two examples. Let us take example #1 of zigbee mesh network. As shown, ZC (Zigbee coordinator), ZR (Zigbee router) devices and Zigbee end nodes are connected in mesh configuration. The system uses AODV routing protocol to route the packet from source device to the destination device. There is no single network element to manage the entire network. Zigbee nodes and routers individually take responsibility to route the packet. One zigbee coordinator is needed initially to start the network. Each node contains 64 bit address which is unique and permanent. Moreover zigbee requires that data to be transmitted is sent to 16 bit network address of the destination node or device. Hence it is important to know 16 bit address of the destination before transmission of the data.

VSAT network architecture topologies

Let us take example #2 of VSAT mesh network as shown in figure-2. In mesh configuration, Hub station is not required for VSATs to communicate. Two VSATs can directly communicate with or without the need of satellite based on arrangement of their antennas. In Star configuration, VSAT communications require Hub station as shown. Moreover in cellular system also, mobile subscribers communicate via Base Station (or eNB).

Benefits or advantages of Wireless Mesh

Following are the benefits or advantages of Wireless Mesh:
➨If there is fault at any of the wireless end nodes or devices or stations, the entire network does not shut down. This means error or fault at one node does not affect other nodes in the network. Only the region covered by particular faulty nodes will be affected. The service will be restored by another healthy node automatically or manually.

➨The nodes or stations are self organizing and requires minimal manual settings for operational. Centralized management is not required. Hence it does not require periodic maintenance unlike star based system.
➨Wireless mesh network overcomes limitations of wired mesh network in LAN application such as requirement of more cables and NIC cards. For example, to interface 8 computers, each computers require NIC cards and 28 cables are needed to connect each one with the other seven computers.
➨The wireless mesh network offers excellent reliability and freedom for mobile users of the system with minimum configurations.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Wireless Mesh

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Wireless Mesh:
➨There are no central entity called base station or hub station in the wireless mesh network architecture. Hence routing and resource management processes are complex compare to cellular network or any other star topology based wireless network system.
➨The nodes are complex as they need to have transmit/receive functionalities as well as house routing algorithms.
➨It is difficult to install and manage as there is no central place from where entire network can be monitored and controlled. As a result troubleshooting is poor.
➨As the nodes house complex functionalities, they are expensive.
➨It is more secure as communication starts and ends at user terminals.

Conclusion: In summary advantages of Wireless Mesh network are improvement in fault tolerance without the need of centralized management and so on. The disadvantages of Wireless Mesh are difficult to install and manage in addition to costly end devices for subscribers/users of the network.

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