Red Echo

February 1, 2011

Research on the feasibility of ad-hoc 802.11 wireless mesh networks: it’s not encouraging.

We also show that the traffic pattern determines whether an ad hoc network’s per node capacity will scale to large networks. In partic- ular, we show that for total capacity to scale up with network size the average distance between source and destination nodes must remain small as the network grows. Non-local traffic patterns in which this average distance grows with the network size result in a rapid decrease of per node capacity. Thus the question “Are large ad hoc networks feasible?” reduces to a question about the likely locality of communication in such networks.

1 Comment

  1. Funnily enough, this problem is largely resolved by a technology called ODMA (Opportunity-Driven Multiple Access). Albeit horrifically complex algorithmically, we actually had large mesh networks running using common 802.11 technologies. The only additional requirement was to be able to measure received signal strength (which some 802.11 chips allow). I have a couple of patents for the algorithms used. Although I’m no longer in that game, this company still is:

    Comment by Paul — February 1, 2011 @ 11:24 am