Robert Poor (Ember Corporation) writes in Sensors on how to create “industrial-strength connectivity [which] delivers self-configuring, scalable, and self-healing networks”.
Multihop mesh technology, however, is inherently reliable and redundant, and it can be extended to include thousands of devices. In addition, these networks can be installed in hours instead of days or weeks. And the network doesnt require sophisticated planning and site mapping to achieve reliable communications. Theres no need for specialized and costly RF engineering labor to complete the installation.
The network is self-configuring. All devices can transmit from their original position, and they dont have to be moved. A weak signal or dead zone can be fixed simply by dropping a repeater node into place. The network error rate is low and can be further reduced if occasional re-transmits are allowed.
Industrial systems can now benefit from a wireless format that satisfies the multiple conflicting demands of redundancy, distributed communications, flexibility, and reliability. Furthermore, self-configuring, self-healing networks are inherently less expensive to install and maintain as radios and microprocessors become cheaper. A significant barrier to low-cost connectivity has been removed.
Wireless mesh networks could be a useful technology for connectivity in rural areas.