Wishlist/Mesh Networking

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Wishes warning! This article or section documents one or more OpenMoko Wish List items, the features described here may or may not be implemented in the future.



Mesh networking allows communication with others without the need for network infrastructure such as cellular base stations or wireless access points. A mesh network treats everyone's computer as a wireless router and learns about the links in the network, computes paths between all users, and updates the IP routing tables so that you can send packets to anyone else who is part of the mobile ad-hoc network (MANet).


The minimal requirement to run Mesh networking is having at least one network interface configured. A WLAN or Bluetooth network interface can be used for this (actually you could use a wired interface but you won't be very mobile then!).

Latest developments in mesh technology is to use multiple radio interfaces to establish the network. As the Neo1973 offers multiple radios, this platform is an excellent vehicle to develop next generation mobile mesh networking capabilities!


There is different software out there supporting Mesh networking.


Netsukuku is a mesh network or a p2p net system that generates and sustains itself autonomously. It is designed to handle an unlimited number of nodes with minimal CPU and memory resources.

 Note: from the Ntk features list
 The design of Netsukuku prioritises the stability of net.
 For this reason, it isn't specifically suitable for mobile nodes.
 However if the mobile nodes are inside an area covered by static Netsukuku
 nodes, there aren't any problems. It is also possible to use other mesh
 network protocols designed for mobility in conjunction with Netsukuku

Mobile Mesh

Mobile Mesh has been developed for mobile ad-hoc routing protocols. Mobile Mesh is developed part of a research project at The MITRE Corporation.


LUNAR stands for Lightweight Underlay Network Ad-hoc Routing and implements a bare-bones on-demand route discovery protocol with broadcast dampening and reconfigures communications paths typically within 3 seconds. LUNAR includes automatic IP gatewaying and supports IP unicast and broadcast. A dedicated LUNAR over Bluetooth version is available running over a Bluetooth network using BlueZ.

Routing protocols


AODV is a routing protocol very light in term of power and energy consumption; it provides at the support for mobility. It is a proactive algorithm, so it does not send any message if you don't need, and that is good for comsumption


B.A.T.M.A.N. is the latest routing protocol developed by enthusiasts around the world. Initial algorithm design was done by Elektra from the freifunk.net community Berlin.

Each B.A.T.M.A.N (better approach to mobile ad-hoc networking) node stores routing information about the neighbouring node it can reach. If because of packet loss etc. another node cannot be reached it will not be part of the local node's routing information.

B.A.T.M.A.N Advanced is the next generation implementation that works on the Ethernet layer instead of the IP layer. That way the mesh-net can be seen as an ethernet switch allowing easier node to node setups and providing services inside the mesh-net.

A German article can be found here.


802.11s is a draft IEEE 802.11 amendment for mesh networking, defining how wireless devices can interconnect to create an ad-hoc network. It extends the IEEE 802.11 MAC standard by defining an architecture and protocol that support both broadcast/multicast and unicast delivery using "radio-aware metrics over self-configuring multi-hop topologies." There is a project creating an open-source implementation: http://open80211s.org.


Here some companies who offer mesh networking services and/or products. Guess they see a true business case in this technology ;-)


Terranet is a company based in Lund, Sweden and offers technology to enable long distance VoIP calls. Their techonology offering is unknown; it seems the protocol appears to be proprietary and closed.


Motorola bought in 2004 MeshNetworks, one of the first companies offering wireless mesh networking technology called MAE (Mobility Enabled Access). The protocol appears to be proprietary and closed. Motorola also developed a dedicated radio technology at the physical layer (PHY) for this.


MeshDynamics offers a multi-radio multi-channel radio solution using 802.11 for wireless mesh networking. They also did a performance analysis of three competing Mesh Architectures here.


One Laptop Per Child implements a mesh network. All of their code is open source.

External links

  • Open 802.11s - 1 Goal: "To connect all the Linux devices in the world to One Big Mesh."
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