The beauty of meshes? They’re bottom-up networks that capitalize on the rise of Wi-Fi and other open wireless technologies. They shimmer into existence on their own, forming ad hoc out of whatever’s in range – phones, PCs, laptops, tablet computers, PDAs. Each device donates a little processing muscle and some memory. Packets jump from one user to the next – finding the best path for the conditions at any given moment – and finally skip to a high-bandwidth base station, which taps into the Internet.
The result: big boosts to the range and speed of wireless signals. With the help of, say, 50 meshed PCs, PDAs, and phones, a typical Wi-Fi network with a 500-foot range can be transformed into one that extends 5 miles.
An interesting point was made in an email to Mohan Narendran sometime ago:
Now that India is loosening up on indoor 802.11b regs, you may want to blog about “used Wi-Fi cards” which I reckon are going to be quite plentiful next year when upgrades happen to 802.11a/g. It could be that your thin-clients are in a Wi-Fi mesh network with the access-point at the thick-server. You had blogged about the Economist article: Mesh Networks is releasing their all-software product MeshLAN on 1st September (I don’t have the pricing), while Jon Anderson at Locust is working out open-source mesh solutions, www.locustworld.com. Used card plus software could add USD30 to your thin-client (I have not seen cabling costs in your SME budgeting …)
We expect this to work well, and we are evaluating the headless Linux-based Toshiba SG20 as the “mobility server” for our internal deployments: The Toshiba SG20 may also work well you – a portable thick server!
Will also be writing about Mesh Networks in tomorrow’s Tech Talk.