What is Mesh Network Topology

7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Mesh Topology Limitations  Benefits of Mesh Topology

A mesh network is a network in which devices  or nodes are linked together, branching off other devices or nodes. These networks are set up to efficiently route data between devices and clients. They help organizations provide a consistent connection throughout a physical space.

Mesh network topologies create multiple routes for information to travel among connected nodes. This approach increases the resilience of the network in case of a node or connection failure. Larger mesh networks may include multiple routers, switches and other devices, which operate as nodes. A mesh network can include hundreds of wireless mesh nodes, which allows it to span a large area.

There are two types of mesh network topologies:

  • Fully-connected mesh network
  • Partially-connected mesh network

Advantages of a Mesh Network

Easy Scalability

Mesh networks don’t require additional routers. Instead, each node acts as router instead. This means you can quickly and easily change the size of the network.

For example, you can easily add a bunch of technology to a conference room for a short period of time. Laptops, printers and more can be moved into the room and will automatically connect to the network.

Even non-technical applications can benefit from this type of network. For example, a mesh network for lighting can be added to just about any office. This allows you to simply add light sources as you like, with the ability to control the entire network from anywhere.

Minimizing Dead Zones

Traditional routers tend to lose Wi-Fi signal the further away you are. A mesh network eliminates those dead zones. The stations piggyback on one another, so it acts like a continuous link no matter where you are in your home.

Easy to Add Range

Adding range to a mesh network is usually not a problem. You simply connect nodes to gateways, which allow messages to pass through to the rest of the network. Plus, mesh networks can self-optimize and find the fastest route to deliver a message.

Easy Configuration

A mesh network works on many nodes in one network. Since this is true, you would imagine it would be difficult to configure them all. However, you don’t have to manually set up and configure each satellite hub in your system. They easily do it themselves.

Less Connection Failure

Mesh networks are extremely resilient. It’s constantly “discovering” path changes and any rerouting. The nodes find this information and relay it to the other nodes. This means if there is a failure somewhere in the system, the other pieces will pick it up and find a fix on their own.

Disadvantages of a Mesh Network

Slower Speed

The biggest fallback is that for every “hop” the system makes, you lose a little bit of speed.

Let’s say your main station is in the basement, and you have two hubs in the upper level and none in the bedroom. Your speed in the bedroom is going to be slower.

This is because your primary station makes a copy of the data you are reaching. Then, each hub makes another copy until it reaches its final destination. So, it takes a little extra time to travel from the main hub.

Initial Network Setup can be Complicated

Once a mesh network is up and running, adding nodes is pretty simple. But implementing a mesh network from the ground up is usually much more complicated and time-consuming than setting up something more traditional. Latency issues will dictate where you need to place nodes. You might need to add dedicated nodes solely for the purposes for forwarding messages. But this can be a logistical issue. You might have to add equipment throughout your location just so messages can be routed properly and quickly.

Increased Power Consumption for Each Node

When each node is given the responsibility of acting like both an endpoint and a route, that increased workload does cause a strain. Every node will need to draw more power than normal in order to operate correctly.

Costly Device

The price of mesh equipment is much higher than traditional routers.

Conclusion

Mesh networks are ideal for many Wi-Fi users, especially if you need to cover a large area with Wi-Fi access. But, the use of a simple system comes at a cost. It’s not a cheap option, no matter what company you purchase from, and, there are issues with speed.Also, you probably don’t want to set up a mesh network yourself unless you reasonably understand what you’re doing. Mesh networks can be complicated to set up. Plus, incorrect setup could leave security and other important systems vulnerable to problems. However, If you do decide on a mesh network, don’t be intimidated. With proper planning, you can set up a secure mesh system in your home or office. If you’re willing to pay for better coverage, a mesh network may be the perfect option for you. Contact us today for more information.

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