Monday, March 10, 2014

Mesh Network and Internet of Things

What Is a Mesh Network? According to, "Mesh networking is a fancy way of saying every device is able to talk to every other device. The advantage in home automation is multiple paths to the destination device. Imagine you want to drive across town to work. If there’s only possible route to get there then you’ll be late if traffic is heavy or worse, an accident has occurred and stopped traffic. However, if you have multiple alternate routes available then you’ll always get there on time regardless of road conditions. That’s a mesh network."

The world around us is becoming more connected every day, almost to a pervasive extent as microprocessors, BLE (bluetooth smart), ZigBee, and WiFi Direct integrate more than just consumer electronics into our online lives. Everything from the Nest thermostat, BLE enabled lights, to connected refrigerators contain SoCs, enabling us to access them remotely, or use them in ways that we never imagined before. Industrial use of these small, integrated chips is growing like crazy, too. The Internet of Things refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The following table listed the total addressable market by wireless application:

Wireless Application
Total Addressable Market
Phone accessories (internet / apps centric devices)
> 10 billion
Smart Energy (meters & displays). Which will drive
~ 1 billion
Home Automation (white goods and HVAC)
> 5 billion
Health, Wellness, Sports & Fitness
> 10 billion
Assisted Living
> 5 billion
Animal Tagging (food assurance)
~ 3 billion
Intelligent Transport Systems
>1 billion
M2M (Internet connected devices)
> 10 billion

ZigBee is designed for mesh network which covers large areas, but is not so well suited to ad-hoc networking and requires powered routers within a lower power LAN. BLE will be able to communicate with billions of Bluetooth devices, but it lacked of mesh network support. Fortunately, CSR and Zuli have pushed BLE as a mesh network for the smart home.
The CSR Mesh protocol uses Bluetooth Smart to send messages to other Bluetooth Smart devices in the network which in turn send them onward. Messages can be addressed to individual devices or groups of devices. It is also possible for devices to belong to more than one group. Control is enabled via standard Bluetooth Smart enabled appliances such as light switches, or via the majority of smartphones or tablets available today. 

Most current, common Bluetooth applications allow for up to seven devices to be available for pairing and yet will allow only two to be active at any time and only within a 33ft/10 meter range. CSR Mesh technology allows each Bluetooth Smart device to communicate with all of the others in the network. Each added device will also extend the working range of the network. With CSR Mesh, you can control up to 65,000 devices in a single network! And if that wasn’t enough, there is virtually no limit to the number of networks that can be setup in a given location.

Why are these types of numbers so necessary for the success of the Internet of Things? It was called "Bluetooth Internet of Things Revolution?".

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