Updated June 9, 2023
Introduction to Mesh Topology
In this article. we will learn about What is Mesh Topology?. In the Digital era, apart from computers and printers, Machines, Equipment, Home appliances, and Personal Gadgets are networked with each other as well as connected to the internet. The network plays an important role by connecting people, machines and any devices to share information and do transactions. The selection of the right topology of the network depends on business objectives, end-user requirements and the IT policy of any organization. It plays a crucial role in the performance of the network and controlling the operating cost. Topology describes the way nodes in the network are connected physically and logically with each other and with servers.
In this article let’s go through the features of Mesh Topology and its advantages/disadvantages.
What is Mesh Topology?
Mesh Network Environment, every node (Computers, Hubs, Switches, and any other devices) is connected with all the other nodes. There is no hierarchy, uniform pattern and interdependency between nodes in this topology and connections between nodes take place randomly.
|Self-Organized/Self-Configured||Each node acts as a router and decides the route of the data flow depending on the availability of connection between nodes.|
|Self-healing||Network traffic load is dynamically redistributed among nodes in the event of failure of any nodes.|
Mesh network was initially adopted in the 1980s by the Military in its Radio network and any person communicates with another person and each node will act as a router. This was developed over the earlier one-way voice communication system (Half Duplex radio in which one person talks at a time and another person receives and vice versa) by replacing voice with data pockets.
Types of Mesh Topology
Two major types of Mesh topologies are
1. Full Mesh Topology
All the nodes in the network are connected with every other If there are n number of nodes in a network, each node will have an n-1 number of connections. This full mesh offers abundant connections paths between any two given nodes with plenty of redundancies built-in. Failure of any nodes can easily manage with such huge resources.
It is pretty expensive to deploy full mesh and it is mainly used in the backbone of any network.
2. Partial Mesh Topology
Only a few nodes are connected with all the other nodes like full mesh and the rest of the nodes are connected with few other nodes only. This topology offers limited redundancy to manage the failure of any nodes. Peripheral networks are connected using partial mesh and work with a full-mesh backbone in tandem.
How does Mesh Topology Works?
It mainly works on two principles namely Routing and flooding.
In the routing mode, the data is transmitted in a predetermined path with multiple hopping across nodes before delivering data packets to the destination. In order to transmit the data over the network, all the intermediate nodes need to remain active and stay connected. If there is a failure in any of the intermittent nodes in the path of communication, using the self-healing technique it finds out an alternate path and completes the communication.
In the Flooding model, the data is communicated to all the active nodes in the network. If a node finds that the data is addressed to it then it consumes the data otherwise it passes it to the next node. The data pockets have a life span defined as a fixed time period or the number of hops it can take before the data is removed.
Protocols in Mesh Topology
Protocols define standards for data communication between two nodes. These protocols fit in layer 3 (Network Layer) of the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model. There are three types of protocols used in this Topology namely a. Proactive, b. Reactive and c. Hybrid. Each one of these types has its own unique features in managing the network and delivery which ultimately impacts performance and scalability.
This protocol facilitates constant self-monitoring of the nodes in the network path using the feedback from the nodes and proactively reroute the network path in case of failure in any of its nodes. It provides robust performance and quick recovery from any failure and ensures maximum uptime of the network.
It is more suited for a static environment where the network path doesn’t change quite often and in a dynamic environment, it consumes more resources and has a chance of collusion. Hence this protocol should be adopted for the right environment.
This protocol determines the network path only upon request for data transmission. It scans through the entire network and determines the optimal path. Hence it is the right fit for a dynamic environment and it has better scalability. But it takes little more time to establish a connection.
It uses the characteristics of proactive and reactive methods and provides the best combination as per the communication needs and the environment. This method optimizes the cost of network operations.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mesh Topology
Below are the points explain the advantages and disadvantages:
Below are the given advantages:
- Scalable: There are no exclusive Routers in this topology and each node acts like Router and it is easy to add additional node and seamlessly connect it to the network. No extra effort is needed to scale up the network.
- Robust: Network availability will not be affected due to a failure of a single node in the system and this topology has robust features to overcome any situation. There cannot be a total shutdown of this network.
- Redundancy: This topology provides multiple paths to reach the destination and a lot of redundancy is built to keep maximum uptime.
- Lower Cost: It is a highly decentralized system where there are no central servers to control the network and hence it requires less investment in infrastructure.
Below are the given disadvantages:
- Complex: Complexity gets added as each node will have to act as a router, as well as send/, receive messages.
- Planning: Nodes are getting added, tapping the flexibility and scalability this topology offers an administrator will have to ensure uniform latency across all nodes. This makes network planning a little difficult.
- Power Consumption: Power requirement is higher as all the nodes will have to remain active all the time and share the load.
The wide adoption of Wi-Fi technology by Industry is a boon to the mesh network and it triggers new use cases especially in IOT applications where all the devices will have to be connected together.
This is a guide to What is Mesh Topology?. Here we discuss an introduction, features, history if it, with types and knowing two principles with advantages and disadvantages. You can also go through our other related articles to learn more –