What Is Mesh Wifi?

Before going into deep let’s understand what mesh wifi is?

So, it is a wireless mesh network for communication which is made up by using mesh topology. If you want to explain it further then it can be a wireless adhoc network. A mesh is thoroughly famous for good inter-connection among the device. A mesh wifi network, contains mesh clients, mesh routers and mesh gateways. So, this is the whole procedure of mesh wifi.

How Mesh Wifi Works?

Mesh WiFi works by distributing the WiFi channels among multiple Mesh-WiFi AP Nodes, and allowing 802.11r and 802.11s to happen between nodes as well as a creating back-haul channel for sending data from one Mesh node to another without involving any other clients if need be (like with standard wifi). It’s like having access points everywhere!

To expand a little bit further
General WiFi works like a client server model…
WiFi Router acts a Server node and all other devices (laptops, tabs, smart devices) act as clients.
There is no communication between the clients themselves – if any traffic has to travel between two clients it has to go via WiFi router(technically referred as WiFi AP).

However, Mesh WiFi has multiple Access points known Mesh WiFi-AP. A client connects to one Mesh WiFi-AP which has the best reception.
Mesh WiFi-APs communicate to each other using a back channel(Backhaul),these back channels are common agreed WiFi Channels in 5GHz range. Each Mesh WiFi-APs is assigned a fixed set of WiFi Channel(s) and aggregation parameters. This is done to

  • Avoid interference with nearby Mesh AP Nodes.
  • And Client shouldn’t bounce frequently between 2 Mesh-WiFi-AP Nodes.

Mesh-Wifi Technical Deep Dives

Till now you’ll be having a proper idea about mesh wifi and its working. Now let’s learn more about mesh wifi:-

Technological Aspects of Mesh Wifi

Convention of Mesh – It doesn’t require any strategy regarding routing while implementing each node. The convention of the mesh can be

  • Proactive
  • Reactive or maybe
  • Hybrid according to the convention of mesh.

Routing Protocols for Mesh

Let’s talk about some of the routing techniques which have been used in the past.

  1. OLSR  Layer 3 Protocol – Optimized link-state routing was in good pace in the early stages of its release and so far this is the most vintage convention which is still present.

It was described by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). It used to offer stability to the system.

Click Here to know more about OLSR Layer 3   Protocol.

Click Here for the Github repository of OLSR Layer 3 Protocol.

Batman Layer 3 & Batman Advance Layer 2 Protocol

Batman conceded the attraction because of its portability and durability over the Linux Kernel. Batman is a proactive 3 convention routing but on the other hand.

Click Here to know more about Batman Layer 3 Protocol.

Click Here for the Github repository of Batman Layer 3 Protocol.

Batman Advanced is a 2 layer convention with self-assembling using a Mac address. It’s scattered topology converts it into more efficient and scalable at the same time.

Click Here to know more about Batman Advance Layer 2 Protocol.

Click Here for the Github repository of Batman Advance Layer 2 Protocol.

HWMP Layer 2 & Layer 3

Hybrid Wireless Mesh Protocol (HWMP) is the superior level in IEEE 802.11-2012. In modern technology, it is already compiled in Linux Kernel. I don’t find any comparison regarding its satisfactory performance over 802.115. Secure HWMP (SHWMP) and privacy-aware HWMP (PAHWMP) gives security to nodes by keeping away any outside mischief.

Click Here to know more about HWMP Protocol.

Click Here for the Github repository of HWMP Protocol

Babel Layer 3

Babel heels itself and at the same time assembles itself with two times more speed than Batman. It can hang out with so many interconnections at the same time. It is defined and described by the experimental IPTR RFC 6126. Babel uses the same kind of same matrices at a lot of places as it is used in HWMP. I can’t make any straightforward comparison between Babel and HWMP.

Click Here to know more about Babel Layer 3   Protocol.

Click Here for the Github repository of Babel Layer 3 Protocol.

So this was the whole big explanation about the versatility in conventional pf mesh. Now let’s move into the working side mesh and a lot of you may already know or already heard of this upcoming software.

Ok now let’s focus on the working of mesh.

Operating System Supporting Mesh WiFi

DD-WRT

I don’t think that I need to describe it, you all know this is one of the most popular open-source routers nowadays. It attracts users because of its simplicity and consistency of its interface which is so very powerful at the same time.

OpenWRT

Let me tell you guys, this is for Linux and it also underpins the DD-WRT along with so many other routers firmware. Its interface for the user is not completely developed yet.

Click Here for the official website link of OpenWRT.

Android

Android and iPhone platforms are of continuous interest due to their dense, power-efficient integration of sensors, processing, and communications. within the SPHERES robots, for instance, a Nexus S handset with Velcro provided intelligence and vision. PhoneSat15 is an example of Android controlling an independent satellite. Google itself appears to show no interest in mesh networking on Android, but several communities have. The BatDROID app supplies a layer 3 protocol. Another development to observe is wise Phone Ad-Hoc Networks (SPAN), which has initially implemented OLSR-D on layer 3 and generated a custom kernel for the Samsung Galaxy S III.16

Arduino

Some initial work was performed to port the OpenWRT OS onto the Yun platform, enabling the Yun to participate during a mesh network 17.

Raspberry Pi

OpenWRT & Raspbian succeeded in integrating the BATMAN-Adv layer 2 mesh protocol.

Raspbian Version Raspbian18.

Openwrt Release 19 is the latest version with stable Mesh Support, and it has been ported to Raspberry Pi, enabling it to function as a mesh router. How to Build on OpenWRT& Raspberry Pi4 .

Mesh Packages – Enthusiast communities have produced several packages to serve the wants of community networks. QuickMesh Project, AirMesh, Byzantium, Project Meshnet, Commotion, et al. offer package solutions usually supporting one or two popular protocols.

OpenWRT – HWMP is constructed into the Linux kernel. To put in BATMAN-Adv, the mod-batman-adv package was added from the quality available OpenWRT packages using the ‘opkg’ package manager.

Linux

To evaluate HWMP we wanted only to configure each device as a mesh node. This was accomplished using the ‘iw’ and ‘ifconfig’ Linux commands within the distribution of Linux that we were using, the BATMAN-Adv Batctl control program was easily downloadable from the package manager. The kernel module on the opposite hand had to be compiled from scratch. This allowed us to settle on the version of the BATMAN-Adv kernel module.that we wanted to use. During this case, we specifically chose a special version than what was included within the OpenWRT package to point out additional compatible interoperability.

Comparison Between Different Mesh Protocols

In This section We have tested the throughput and performance of HWMP and BATMAN using different Traffic Profiles

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Capacity
  • Mobility

Audio, Video, Capacity, and Mobility

For the Purpose of Audio and Video testing we used Ekiga VoIP software VoIP calls were established between Hosts connected via the Mesh system.

  • The Ekiga VoIP software failed to accommodate mobile nodes; if the mesh protocol changed the route between the 2 communicating nodes then Ekiga would drop the decision. This problem did not have a straightforward solution, and it had been determined to be a flaw within the way Ekiga adapts to latency changes.
  • During the indoor testing, the focus of the investigation was audio and video applications using the mesh.
  • Using VLC, the standard of the video was very low. We were restricted to a stream with a resolution of 500×500 pixels to keep up a high enough frame rate that the video was usable.
  • The audio quality on the opposite hand was very high. Higher resolution video streams were less tolerant of dropped frames and dropped packets causing extremely low frame rates.

Throughput – BATMAN vs HWMP

  • The bandwidth performance across multiple hops are often viewed within the graphs below. Throughput dropped as hops were added, more so for BATMAN-Adv than for HWMP.
  • The throughput within the indoor test was limited by browsing the ground. The bottleneck of 9.5 Mbps coupling between floors wasn’t further reduced by additional hops.
  • In the outdoor test, we knew that bandwidth would be limited by distance because of fixed transmit power. The initial connection was between a laptop and proximate router, then the routers were spaced uniformly at 150m. iperf was accustomed successively to load the mesh between increasingly distant successive nodes.
  • BATMAN-Adv had a 45% bandwidth decrease per hop at the performance rate of 1% packet loss. The HWMP test data shows a 34% bandwidth decrease per hop at the performance point of 1% packet loss per hop.
Tested on Raspberry Pi 3 Model b+
Tested on Raspberry Pi 3Model b+

Route Selection and SwitchingHWMP Vs BATMAN

  • In the indoor test when a node had a direct failure from loss of power, BATMAN- Adv reconfigured in a median of 0.743 seconds and HWMP in 0.443 seconds; both of those times were within an appropriate range. However, within the field, link quality fades gradually because the mobile node moved through the mesh.
  • BATMAN-Adv resisted switching to a replacement route when link quality degraded because of low signal strength. BATMAN-Adv would quickly change its routing structure when selecting a route that had fewer hops to its destination node.
  • The matter specifically occurred when updating the route to feature an additional hop would have caused the throughput of the mesh to extend, but BATMAN-Adv prefers to require the route with the shortest number of hops whether or not it implies that bandwidth to the destination node and also the total capacity of the channel is less due to it.
  • BATMAN-Adv had a 3.2s average handoff while acquiring a direction that may reduce the number of hops to the destination node. The matter was the 75s average handoff while occupying a direction that will increase the number of hops, a long-tail distribution with some observed waits of over four minutes.
  • HWMP had a median of 9.3 seconds while taking possession a direction that reduces the number of hops to the destination and had 9.5s for the common of moving far away from the destination node.
  • The difference between these two tests is postulated to be due to the “radio-aware” messaging and route selection in HWMP. Additionally, BATMAN-Adv could be a Proactive routing protocol and HWMP uses a reactive protocol during this test because there are not any gateway nodes.

Channel Selection

  • Most of the tests used a set channel assignment after manually assessing the RF environment. Additional testing may include scenarios with the nodes configured to automatically select a channel because the RF environment can vary across a spatially distributed mesh or vary with time. As an example, can a node experiencing interference request a distinct channel?
  • If the network establishes from two end-points on two frequencies, can a middle node force them to hitch or will they continue to be isolated?
  • Basic mesh setup specifies a channel or frequency on which the mesh SSID resides. The mesh protocol tries to attach to the SSID thereon channel, but if it cannot connect, it’s for the mesh on any available channels. Thus, a frequency-agile mesh is also feasible.

Security

  • An evaluation of Wi-Fi AES and TKIP encryption found that clients or nodes could hook up with the mesh without sharing the key, although they were configured to use encryption. The sole wireless security standard that’s implemented by OpenWRT mesh networking at the time of the test is WEP.

WEP encryption is however a fundamentally broken protocol22. WPA couldn’t be configured to support the mesh network, nodes wouldn’t hook up with one another whether or not that they had the identical shared key.

MeshMesh ProtocolAddressingPlatforms
Quick MeshBMX, OLSRIPv6 autoOpenWRT
Air MeshBATMAN-AdvIPv6 CJDNSLinux
ByzantiumOLSRIPv6 ZeroConfLinux
CommotionOLSRIPv6 customOpenWRT Linux, Android
MeshnetCJDNSIPv6 CJDNSOSX

Dynamic IP Address Assignment

  • NASA’s deployments are present of a scale that fixed Internet Protocol address assignments may be managed. As cooperation with partner assets could be a requirement of affordable space exploration, the address space must be partitioned among partners, or it must be managed by protocol.
  • The elemental problem of dynamic unique address assignment remains unsettled. This is often partially because IP addresses reflect the structure of the network, and when a mobile node moves to a unique part of the backbone its address should change designedly.

Top 5 Opensource Mesh WiFi

Some of the mesh wifi is available open-source for the users to use. So, now we’ll talk about the best 5 opensource mesh wifi.

OpenWRT

OpenWrt is an embedded Linux distribution that may be installed on various routers. OpenWrt features a web interface, and it may be more stable than your hardware’s default firmware. If you discover yourself to restart your router every few days because it’s become delayed, you are a candidate for OpenWrt.

Click Here to know more about OpenWRT.

Raspbian:

It is also known as Raspberry Pi OS, is an open-source Debian based operating system for the Raspberry Pi. It comes with pre-installed software for education and programming such as Python, Scratch, Java, etc.

Click Here to know more about Raspbian.

Libremesh

Libremesh is an open-source modular framework for creating OpenWRT based firmware for wireless mesh nodes.

Click Here to know more about Libremesh.

DIY Mesh-wifi using RaspberryPi And Openwrt

Toronto Mesh:

Toronto mesh is one of the best opensource mesh wifi frameworks easily available for users to use online.

Click Here to know more about Toronto Mesh.

DIY Mesh-wifi using RaspberryPi And Openwrt

Free mesh:

Freemesh is one of the best and inexpensive open-source mesh wifi which comes with a router and 2 nodes only for $150. It runs on an open-source operating system based on OpenWrt.

Click Here to know more about Freemesh.

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. Thomas
. Thomas
3 months ago

Second paragraph is incomprehensible

abpreen
Admin
Reply to  . Thomas
3 months ago

Thanks Thomas… I have tried to explain it a litter better… Let me know if this comprehensive