What is Mesh Topology?
A mesh topology is a network topology in which all the network nodes are individually connected to most of the other nodes. There is not a concept of a central switch, hub or computer which acts as a central point of communication to pass on the messages.
A mesh network is a network topology in which each node relays data for the network. All mesh nodes cooperate in the distribution of data in the network.
Mesh networks can relay messages using either a flooding technique or a routingtechnique. With routing, the message is propagated along a path by hopping from node to node until it reaches its destination. To ensure all its paths’ availability, the network must allow for continuous connections and must reconfigure itself around broken paths, using self-healing algorithms such as Shortest Path Bridging. Self-healing allows a routing-based network to operate when a node breaks down or when a connection becomes unreliable. As a result, the network is typically quite reliable, as there is often more than one path between a source and a destination in the network. Although mostly used in wireless situations, this concept can also apply to wired networks and to software interaction.
A mesh network whose nodes are all connected to each other is a fully connected network. Fully connected wired networks have the advantages of security and reliability: problems in a cable affect only the two nodes attached to it. However, in such networks, the number of cables, and therefore the cost, goes up rapidly as the number of nodes increases.
Mesh networks can be considered a type of an ad-hoc network. Thus, mesh networks are closely related to mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), although MANETs also must deal with problems introduced by the mobility of the nodes.
Unlike other network topologies, it can be divided into two kinds:
- Fully connected mesh topology and,
- Partially connected mesh topology
A fully connected mesh topology has all the nodes connected to every other node. If you know the graph theory, then it is like a fully connected graph where all the nodes are connected to every other node.
On the other hand, a partially connected mesh topology does not have all the nodes connected to each other.
Advantages of mesh topology:
- Each connection can carry its own data load
- It is robust
- A fault is diagnosed easily
- Provides security and privacy
Disadvantages of mesh topology:
- Installation and configuration are difficult if the connectivity gets more
- Cabling cost is more and the most in case of a fully connected mesh topology
- Bulk wiring is required