In the past, building beyond a single-point connection required high-cost hardware solutions and software implementations to connect the in-between spaces needed for device to device communication. As IoT platforms have matured, they have started to embrace a low-power, low-cost alternative that can bridge the gaps between these devices: wireless mesh networks.
A wireless mesh network is an infrastructure of nodes (a mesh topology) that are wirelessly connected to each other. These nodes piggyback off each other to extend a radio signal (like a Wi-Fi or cellular connection) to route, relay, and proxy traffic to/from clients. Each node spreads the radio signal a little further than the last, minimizing the possibility of dead zones.
It should be noted that each mesh networking solution works differently. So for this article, will focus on how Particle Mesh technology works. Particle Mesh is a wireless mesh network designed to connect the spaces in between existing Wi-Fi and cellular deployments with local networks that are low-cost, secure, and reliable.
Traditional IoT devices that use Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity depend on the cloud to relay messages between devices. This works great when you’re making a standalone product — but sometimes you need more than that. Particle Mesh development kits aren’t just connected to the Internet, they’re gateways to the Internet and create a local wireless mesh that other devices can join. These devices work together to ensure that messages get where they’re going, and power products that aren’t possible or economically feasible with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity. Particle Mesh gives every IoT device a local network to understand and connect with the world around it, ensuring products have the information they need.
While wireless mesh networking technologies has been around for some time, only recently has the power of mesh reached a point of maturity alongside high availability from chip and silicon vendors. With newer approachable costs, wireless mesh networking has become ideal for IoT builders. And with the rise of connected homes and industry support on open source resources like Thread, Mesh is now truly accessible while being low-cost enough to scale for production. As such, wireless mesh networking is becoming a much more viable, real choice for industrial and commercial IoT applications. It can provide additional services in a system where extending a connection between two nodes is limited:
When using wireless mesh networks for your IoT project, it is important that you consider these three core variables: installation, device management, and support.
If you’re looking to implement wireless mesh-networking into your IoT infrastructure, you must examine the whole IoT system and not just a singular component. To build any IoT product or infrastructure you need hardware, software, and connectivity. To integrate these three components, you must research IoT platforms that can provide these components to you and consult IoT domain experts to help you scope these the three complexities.
Mesh Networking is a critical component for IoT architecture because it enables devices to cover more ground and collect more data. Companies must decide if mesh-networking is an efficient and effective way to scale their local network’s reach, or if relying on traditional Wi-Fi and cellular connections is sufficient for their communication systems.
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