To better understand the concept, think of our potential customers in Cambodia. If a school in Cambodia had a hardwired Internet connection (backhaul), they could use a WiFi signal to transmit a wireless connection outside of the school. As each logged on to the network, each students laptop would act as a node in the mesh network and add to the reliability of the overall system. The school could then minimize its costs of broadcasting its single by installing a minimal amount of radio towers around the school to provide access to all of the students. In a simplified example, the mesh network is self-healing, as it finds the best way to keep a user connected.
It is important to remember that the mesh network can be anchored by physical connections to the Internet. In the mesh network, they refer to these hard-wired connections as the backhaul. The mesh network can either support many users to a single backhaul, or provide multiple routes to multiple backhauls through the interconnection of the nodes in the mesh. Large mesh networks utilize mesh routers strategically located throughout the network. The routers send signals directly to the backhaul and reduce the number of “hops” any users has to make to get to the backhaul. The nodes or hops in the network help to create stability in the network, but too many hops will slow the response time down. In intelligent mesh networks, the network dynamically determines the best route through the nodes to connect two ends points or in our case two students. When a network break is detected, like a student turning off his or her computer, the network will dynamically determine a new route.
This type of “self-healing” routing is demonstrated in the following video clip showcasing how the Innovative Wireless Technologies mesh system functions. In the clip, you can see how the mini-grids form based on usage and nodes active in the mesh and how the system finds alternative routes when a user drops off.
To see a mesh network model in action, click on the following diagram:
The open standard radio technology is creating a competitive environment driving down the costs of optimizing the performance of a mesh network.
The success of the $100 laptops will be compounded by its ability to provide cheap access to the Internet. High volume, open standard radio technology (802.11Wi-Fi, 802.16 WiMax, and future standards) offers the needed platform for the $100 Laptop to network and to gain access to the Internet. Industry coalescence around standards has enabled price, performance and functionality points such that Wi-Fi is now the world’s first global broadband unlicensed radio standard. With this global standard, devices ranging from laptops to PDA’s to cell phones will all provide the needed network to support the $100 laptop with the mesh network needed to get connected. As the number of $100 Laptop owners increase in a given area, the network will grow in strength and reliability, exhibitiing the virtuous circle of network effects.