Architecture and evaluation of an unplanned 802.11b mesh network

Abstract

This paper evaluates the ability of a wireless mesh architecture to provide high performance Internet access while demanding little deployment planning or operational management. The architecture considered in this paper has unplanned node placement (rather than planned topology), omni-directional antennas (rather than directional links), and multi-hop routing (rather than single-hop base stations). These design decisions contribute to ease of deployment, an important requirement for community wireless networks. However, this architecture carries the risk that lack of planning might render the network's performance unusably low. For example, it might be necessary to place nodes carefully to ensure connectivity; the omni-directional antennas might provide uselessly short radio ranges; or the inefficiency of multi-hop forwarding might leave some users effectively disconnected.The paper evaluates this unplanned mesh architecture with a case study of the Roofnet 802.11b mesh network. Roofnet consists of 37 nodes spread over four square kilometers of an urban area. The network provides users with usable performance despite lack of planning: the average inter-node throughput is 627 kbits/second, even though the average route has three hops.The paper evaluates multiple aspects of the architecture: the effect of node density on connectivity and throughput; the characteristics of the links that the routing protocol elects to use; the usefulness of the highly connected mesh afforded by omni-directional antennas for robustness and throughput; and the potential performance of a single-hop network using the same nodes as Roofnet.

DOI: 10.1145/1080829.1080833
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@inproceedings{Bicket2005ArchitectureAE, title={Architecture and evaluation of an unplanned 802.11b mesh network}, author={John C. Bicket and Daniel Aguayo and Sanjit Biswas and Robert Morris}, booktitle={MobiCom}, year={2005} }