Marlon K. Schafer (509) 982-2181 wrote:

First off, don't. Mesh is all the rage today. Just like hotspots were a couple of years ago. Mesh and muni are often rolled out in the same sentence. Show me ONE that's working correctly past the 6 to 12 month stage......

Come down and visit some of our mesh networks if you'd like. Mesh may be a over-hyped buzzword not unlike WiMAX, but that doesn't mean the technology is not without merit.

Having said that, you can still give them the same functionality.

No you can't. P2P and P2MP systems are static layer 2 and layer 3 architectures where as a mesh system can be dynamic at both layer 2 and layer 3.

Same functionality, greater flexibility, MUCH better scalability and, I believe, much better stability.

Functionally, both systems deliver data, but flexibility is higher with mesh, scalability could be better or worse depending on the network, and stability is almost never a function of architecture.

With all the above being stated, mesh is easy to achieve and hard to get right. Don't even bother with WDS or other poor man's mesh. If you can't afford to do mesh right, don't; stick with P2MP. Folks can argue the multiple radio issue as much as they want in regard to mesh and Tropos with its single radio nodes continue to run circles around everyone else. We have deployed Tropos and while we don't like certain aspects about them, I can tell you without a doubt that they are the most well engineered mesh nodes I have ever encountered.

With that being said, we are now deploying multiple radio mesh nodes because the requirements of our project demand them. However, the amount of engineering that goes into making a multiple radio mesh work rivals and some would say exceeds that of a cellular network.

In short, mesh sounds good in theory, mesh is easy to create technically, but in practice, in the field, mesh is hard to get right unless you have a product like Tropos that does it all for you.


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