If the current world were to be described in a single word, it would be called “connected”. No matter where someone is, they’re connected to the rest of the world. However, this connection isn’t magical. It doesn’t just happen on its own. Years of programming have gone into creating the mechanisms for these connections. These mechanisms are networks. Networks help individuals stay connected to each other. There are various types of networks. One such network is a mesh network. It has its own advantages and disadvantages.
WHAT IS A NETWORK?
A network, in computing, is a group of two or more devices that can communicate. These devices are linked in order to share resources (such as printers and CDs), exchange files, or allow electronic communications. The computers on a network may be linked through cables, telephone lines, radio waves, satellites, or infrared light beams. They have various purposes, such as communications (email, instant messaging, and chat rooms), shared hardware, shared data and information through the use of shared storage devices, and shared software, which is achieved by running applications on remote computers.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF NETWORK?
Networks can be classified either on the basis of their area or their topology. On the basis of their area coverage, networks can be categorized as personal area network, local area network, wireless local area network, campus area network, metropolitan area network, wide area network, storage-area network, system-area network, and more.
They can also be divided on the basis of their topology. Network topology is the geometric representation of how computers are connected to each other. On the basis of their topology, networks can be star, bus, ring and hybrid.
In star topology, each device in the network is connected to a central device called hub. It doesn’t allow direct communication between devices, a device must have to communicate through the hub. When all devices are connected to the main cable through drop lines, it is called a bus topology. Since all the data is transmitted over the main cable, there is a limit of drop lines and the distance the main cable can have.
Ring topology connects each device with the two devices on either side of it. If a device wants to send data to another device then it sends the data in one direction, each device in ring topology has a repeater, if the received data is intended for another device then repeater forwards this data until the intended device receives it. A combination of two or more topology is known as hybrid topology. Mesh network is another type of network topology.
WHAT IS A MESH NETWORK?
A mesh network is a network in which the devices – or nodes – are connected so that at least some, and sometimes all, have multiple paths to other nodes. The network connection is spread out among dozens or even hundreds of mesh nodes that “talk” to each other to share the network connection across a large area. A mesh network can be established by connecting devices with wires or wirelessly.
There is a sub-type of mesh networks, full and partial. In a full mesh topology, each network node is connected directly to each of the others. In a partial mesh topology, only some nodes have multiple connection partners.
Advantages of Mesh Network
A major advantage of this topology is that it can be scaled up to the required size without any difficulty. It gives room for the addition of another node within the network without affecting its functionality. This will improve the network’s capability to handle more traffic. This is because there is no need to add routers, as each node can act as a router. There isn’t a lot of extra management that needs to happen, which makes the network scalable.
This network system always compensates for a weak link. If one of the nodes goes down, it doesn’t necessarily bring the entire network down. When one node fails, other nodes are fully functional, and so is the network. The network is able to heal itself around the faulty nodes as long as other nodes can support the network. Because all nodes in a mesh are receiving and translating information, there is some redundancy in a mesh topology. This means that information is being simultaneously transmitted to multiple devices. In essence, it is resistant to problems.
Disadvantages of Mesh Network
Increased Power Consumption
In a mesh network, each node in a mesh has to act as an endpoint and a router. Hence, they need to draw more power to operate. Because of the multiple devices connected together as network nodes, keeping this network up and running will require a lot of power supply. Thus, if you have battery-powered, low-power nodes, a mesh may be difficult to deploy without a lot of network planning.
Know More – Advantages and Disadvantages of Breastfeeding
This system requires each node to both send messages and act as a router. Thus, the complexity of a singular node increases by a significant amount. This also makes a mesh network complex to plan and build. It requires constant and continuous supervision because of the high redundancy levels. Very close attention to detail is required while planning as well as during operation.
The equipment required to build and run a mesh network are quite expensive.
Pros and Cons of Mesh Network
Increased Power Consumption