Let’s first understand what a mesh is. A mesh means a wire or a thread which is connected with thousands of small patterns and when you see it in the terms of a network. It simply means a network that has nodes or computers connected in a mesh like pattern. The word Nodes can be very confusing but you can think it as a connection or a point where a connection happens. Mesh networks are usually connected so that you have no dead spots at your local office or home. In a mesh, a node is basically improving the power of a particular network.
In a mesh network, there is no single switch which can be a central point of communication that can pass the messages. As per the network topologies, there are two kinds of mesh topology networks:
- Fully connected mesh topology
- Partially connected mesh topology
As one can make out from the name, a fully connected mesh topology is one which is connected to every other node, here almost every other computer is connected to each other. It is like a fully cycled graph. On the other hand, a partially connected mesh topology is a network pretty similar to an acyclic graph where it is not necessary that all devices may be connected to each other.
Advantage Vs Disadvantage
Since mesh networking is a part of technology. It has its own set of pros and cons. Let’s have a look at the major advantages and disadvantages of using mesh topology
- Since connectivity in a mesh network is so strong, it won’t be a huge problem if in case there is a broken node. In a mesh topology, since each node is connected to many other computers, it becomes very easy to transmit data from point A to point B. While transmitting, a broken joint is often ignored.
- If the user add more devices that existing in a mesh topology, it won’t affect the network connection. In Fact it will further strengthen the whole network.
- Since a mesh network is all about the number of nodes connected to each other, so it can handle a good amount of traffic. More nodes means more devices can be connected with each other.
- Due to the amount of devices connected in a mesh network, at times it can get really difficult to manage all the devices. Since many devices may be redundant, a total mesh network requires continuous supervision. Only skilled people who are aware of the networking issues can efficiently handle a mesh network.
- In a mesh network, there are a lot of nodes or devices connected to each other. It simply means there will be a huge investment of resources and capital. The whole setup may become very expensive. Nevertheless, it also has a good ROI so no need to worry.
Full Mesh Network
In a fully connected mesh topology, there are nodes which are all connected to each other. It is like a cyclic graph. In a broader perspective, a wide area network (WAN) is connected to some other WAN of the similar type. It is used where the area is wide like a large office. You may have a WAN at once place while the other WAN is setup on some other floor. Meanwhile both the WAN should be of type MPLS. So in case there are two WAN, one WAN has internet and the other has a MPLS connection then the two sites cannot connect. xFi pod is a very popular example which can be paired with xFi gateway to create a mesh network. To check user can simply login to the gateway’s admin tool by going to 10.0.0.1 address.
There are few conditions which need to be satisfied for the connection to happen:
- IP addresses of the two connected WAN should be accessible via the same internet station. IP addresses should be saved as if you change the IP address then the connection will fail
- The service provider must be the same for two WAN interfaces to join. Both the MPLS WAN should have IP reachability.
How to calculate the total throughput for a mesh topology network?
Throughput is the actual amount of data that gets transmitted. So follow the below given steps to take out the total throughput for a mesh network.
Step 1: Convert the TCP window size from bytes to bits.
Step 2: Divide the TCP window size in bits by the network path latency.
Step 3: Convert the result from step 2 to megabits per second by dividing the result by 1,000,000.
Practical Applications of Mesh network
- All the developing countries can use it to widespread their internet network and strengthen the connection. Just imagine a place where a computer run by solar energy is connected to a particular cellular internet connection. It can keep a small village or a town online.
- There are numerous isolated islands and with times, they all need to be connected to the internet. For instances like these, wireless mesh networks are the solution. All one has to do is to set a node nearby a wired access point, once done, it will become a node and be able to provide internet.
- Educational purposes: Mesh network can be extensively used in local schools and colleges for the purpose of connectivity and also efficiently managing so many resources.
- Healthcare: It is an untapped market but holds huge possibilities as a hospital is a place that is huge and take a large capital and space so to connect everything, it makes sense to connect everything with the help of a mesh network.