Mesh Topology | Advantages And Disadvantages Of Mesh Topology

Networking is currently playing a pivotal role in individual’s life as well as organizations day to day activities.  Network topology acts as a bridge between the data user & and the devices in the data center.  To choose a topology which will meet the requirement of both the data center & the end user is really important and delicate as well.

If either the data center is prepared to support a sensitive application or network throughput is of the prime importance, then the best choice would be a topology with various layers of redundancy (i.e. Mesh topology). Such topology aids in prevention of network disruption on the event of network or data center failure.

What is mesh topology?

The topology where devices (network & computer devices) are placed in an interconnected arrangement is termed as mesh topology. No central computer or switch/hub is present in this topology.

This is a highly reliable topology with outstanding network performance.  The participating nodes of the network ensure point to point communication. This topology works on two mechanisms – Routing & Flooding. High end Network Backbones extensively uses the topology.

Mesh Topology example

ZigBee is the most common and broadly used example of the topology. The wireless sensor network ZigBee plays the role like a wireless mesh network comprising of multipurpose sensors like heat sensor, pressure & light sensor.

Devices that run on low power consumption and don’t demand for high data transfer rate are ZigBee compatible. ZigBee is usually employed in a limited geological area.

Characteristics feature of mesh topology

Features of the mesh topology are

  • There left no device without connection
  • Number of connection between existing nodes is over the top
  • Provides redundancy across the network
  • In spite of break down in one segment of a cable, traffic still routes through alternative way.

Classification

Unlike other topologies, there are two types of mesh network topology, fully connected mesh topology and partially connected

A Fully connected topology establishes connection from each node to every other node present. In terms of graph theory, it’s like a fully connected graph with all nodes connected to each other. For example, if five nodes are present in the network, all five nodes are connected among themselves.

Fully connected arrangement ensures full redundancy of network. In fact this one is considered as the most reliable network. If one node gets disconnected, then there are other paths available to transfer the data. The establishment cost of this network is high & the network configuration is complex. Such topology is preferred to use in building of a small network with few nodes.

A partially connected topology sets up connection from each node to some other node but not connected with every other node. This topology provides alternate route to some of the nodes and thus cover the total network. Service of the network is of vital importance.

This kind of topology bears some redundancy. Partial topology is widely used in wider area network, backbone environment etc.  Internet is the most pronounced example of such a topology.

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Mesh topology formula

The formula to count the number of wires needed to configure a fully connected mesh topology is

SN= N (N-1) ÷2

Where, SN is the number of required wire &

N is the number of nodes

Mesh topology diagram

Mesh full topology
Figure: Mesh Full topology                                         
Mesh Portial topology
Figure: Mesh Portial topology

In a full mesh topology each point is connected with every other node. Unlike this topology, in partial one, each node establishes connects with some of the nodes in network.

Advantages of mesh topology

There are several advantages of deploying mesh topology. Some of its advantages are

  • There is no chance of occurring single point failure. If one node fails to operate, some other node will definitely reroute the data & will keep the network working.
  • Unless worldwide catastrophe takes place, to down the network is not possible. Only during such catastrophe there are chances all electronic media & devices would wipe out. So the topology ensures 24/7 data transportation in absence of earth calamity.
  • Due to re transmission properties of signal by the participating devices, they connect thousands of sensors covering a large are.
  • Provides good data transmission support in the midst of large crowd (like festival, fair & concert etc.)
  • Absence of centralized authority
  • Good security & large bandwidth
  • Easier error detection

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Disadvantages of mesh topology

Besides advantages, there are disadvantages of the topology too. Some of the disadvantages are

  • Cost expensive establishment
  • Difficult to install due to market & regulatory forces.
  • Managing the topology is a bit difficult & time consuming.
  • This topology has ability to replace intermediate body like phone carrier & WiFi provider. So for such bodies, it’s a financial
  • Battery life of device affects the availability of node & its performance.

Where Mesh topology is used

Various implementation of Mesh topology is noticed. It is found in applications that require sensor. For example,

Smart home

Sensors like temperature sensor, electric shock sensor, voltage sensor can be configured in form of wireless mesh topology (PAN). Electrical appliances with in-built WiFi & Bluetooth (TV, sound system, ac) can be connected in wireless PAN configuration.

Control & monitoring of smart agriculture

Temperature, thermostat sensor & humidity sensors, water level sensors, pollution sensors can be monitored by creating wireless sensor mesh network. This topology will provide all important information at one single time.

Besides this topology can be used in

  • Strategic communication
  • Patient monitoring system
  • Defense system

Depending on the transmission mode factors, the topology can be configured as both simplex & duplex. The duplex mode is always bidirectional. On using a pair of cable between each node pair, bidirectional topology is configured in simplex mode.

The topology is highly robust due to presence of non-shareable dedicated connection. Any of the mesh networks (full or partial) can be implemented depending on the budget. Mesh topology would be the best choice to develop a highly reliable network with really good speed & praiseworthy network performance.

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