Wireless mesh network is fast, self-healing

Enabling wireless nodes to begin serving as routers for neighboring devices creates a mesh or fabric of wireless devices that Ember calls a Wireless Mesh Network. Developed by the MIT Media Lab and manufactured by Ember, EM2420 with EmberNet Embedded Wireless Networking can also be defined as point-to-point-to-point or an ad hoc, multi-hop network.

By Staff January 1, 2004

Enabling wireless nodes to begin serving as routers for neighboring devices creates a mesh or fabric of wireless devices that Ember calls a Wireless Mesh Network. Developed by the MIT Media Lab and manufactured by Ember, EM2420 with EmberNet Embedded Wireless Networking can also be defined as point-to-point-to-point or an ad hoc, multi-hop network. This routing through intermediate nodes is not only rapid, about 100 msec, it’s also self-configuring and self-healing because data packets will automatically reroute through an alternate path if one link fails.

In a wireless mesh network, if one node fails, messages will automatically be routed via alternate paths. A manufacturer of tank and pipe heaters for refineries, Tyco Thermo Controls LLC, recently implemented Ember’s Wireless Mesh Network to replace wiring and avoid repeated line-of-sight adjustments required by its former point-to-point wireless solution. “The rigidity of point-to-point was hard to commission to site specifications, and it was difficult to maintain. The wireless mesh approach made a lot of sense because individual nodes just need to see their neighbors, instead of requiring the whole network to predetermine all its pathways,” says Ken McCoy, Tyco Thermo’s electronics business unit general manager. “We tested it and it works great for us, even among heavy extrusion equipment, cement walls, and power switches. In an older facility without a local area network (LAN), you’d just have to drop in a few nodes, tap a little power and, without any wiring costs, you could bring all your temperature points back to a central panel. This really allows a new technology to monitor an older one.” www.ember.com

  • First generally available 2.4GHz 802.15.4 wireless solution

  • Combines a low-power, low-cost radio chip with flexible mesh networking

  • Integration between RFIC hardware and EmberNet software has produced an efficient chip with AES-128 encryption

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