By Mitch Blaser, Certicom Corp. Feb 24 2006 (10:00 AM), Embedded.com
While the popular image of wireless networking usually features cell phones, PDAs and laptop computers, there are all manner of other devices for which wireless networking presents great advantages. These devices are programmed to do specific tasks or provide specific information, accurately and reliably. They range from managing automated lighting and heating systems in large buildings to monitoring business-critical manufacturing processes or tracking inventory of goods.
These industrial and commercial environments have demanding requirements in terms of network architecture, power consumption, operating cost and, perhaps most importantly, security. Popular wireless networking options may not provide the flexibility required for these applications.
Unlike wireless networks, where multiple devices tend to connect independently to a single hub, ad-hoc wireless networks can change their topology with some frequency. This means that nodes can interconnect to build a mesh architecture in which all nodes in close proximity can communicate.
When each node within the network can communicate with all nearby nodes, the network can quickly and easily route communications to the next available node resulting in impressive robustness, stability and flexibility.
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