2. Preliminaries on Routing Protocols for Ad-hoc Networks
2.1. Ad hoc On-Demand Distance Vector Routing Protocol
- The source node S broadcasts a Route REQuest (RREQ) packet, whose main fields are the destination address and hop counter, to its n neighbors , , ⋯, .
- Upon reception of a RREQ packet, a node checks if the packet contains routing information related to the destination. If so, it rebroadcasts the RREQ increasing the hop counter. If the node itself is the destination of the packet, it replies to the source with a Route REPly (RREP) message.
- Finally, the source node S builds its routing table on the basis of the received RREP messages, storing the next-hop to each destination, and uses this information for following transmissions.
2.2. Optimized Link State Routing (OLSR) Protocol
2.3. Dynamic Source Routing (DSR) Protocol
3. Mesh in IEEE 802.11 Networks
3.1. Standard: IEEE 802.11s
3.1.1. IEEE 802.11s Basics
3.1.2. IEEE 802.11s Topology Formation
3.1.3. IEEE 802.11s Routing Algorithm
3.2. Other Solutions
3.2.1. Better Approach To Mobile Ad-hoc Networks (B.A.T.M.A.N.)
3.2.2. Babel Routing Protocol
4. Mesh in Bluetooth/BLE Networks
- Unicast address, identifying a single element or a node in the network in a unique way. A unicast address is assigned to a device during the provisioning process, when it becomes part of the network.
- Group address, corresponding to a multicast address able to represent either a single element or node, as well as multiple elements or nodes. Moreover, group addresses can be either assigned dynamically (i.e., established by the user via a configuration application), as well as fixed by the official SIG group (in this case, denoted as SIG Fixed Group Addresses).
- Virtual address, corresponding to a 128-bit UUID that can be assigned to either one or more elements, as well as to a single or multiple nodes.
- Relay feature: since the scalability and the robustness of the network can be reduced, if not properly managed, by the adoption of the flooding mechanism (as required by the standard), then, in order to avoid inefficiencies, the relay feature requires that only relay-enabled nodes in the network are allowed to forward received messages further in the network. Another additional features are the message cache and the Time-To-Live (TTL) field, which ensure that a a message M will be relayed by a device N only once. In fact, N only relays M if: (i) M is not already stored in the cache memory of the device N and (ii) the TTL value proper of the message M is greater than 1. Moreover, each time M is relayed further into the network, then its TTL field value is decreased by 1.
- Proxy feature: this feature has been defined aiming at maintaining compatibility with all BLE devices not supporting Bluetooth Mesh. A node N with the proxy feature enabled can perform communication in two ways: (i) employing the default BLE mesh advertising method, and (ii) using the backwards compatibility feature that is based on traditional BLE connections.
- Friendship and Low-Power feature: since the standard forces nodes to scan advertisement channels with a 100% duty cycle, this strongly affects the low-energy aspect of BLE advertising precluding the use of mesh networking in all power-constrained applications. The friendship feature has been introduced to overcome this limitation, allowing a power-limited device P to join the mesh network without the 100% duty cycle. Another, not constrained, node N can establish a friendship relationship with P becoming its friend. In the mesh network, friend nodes are in charge to store and to relay further all incoming messages. Then, the low-power node P can ask to N for new messages with a rate compatible with its reduced duty cycle, and limiting its power usage.
- Bluetooth Low Energy Core Specification layer: this bottom layer provides basic wireless communications capabilities on top of which the whole mesh architecture is built (either using connection-oriented and advertising mechanisms).
- Bearer layer: this layer defines the interfaces (also denoted as “bearers”) between the underlying core specification and the upper layers, through two interfaces: the (i) ADV bearer, managing the BLE advertisement processes, and (ii) the GATT bearer, managing BLE connections.
- Network layer: this layer implements security aspects and defines the various message address types and a network message format which is employed in the bearer layer.
- Transport layer: this layer manages both segmentation and reassembly of larger messages into the original message, thus passing them to the Application level.
- Access layer: works as an interface between the application-oriented layers above and the technology-oriented layers below. The main aim of the Access layer is to guarantee the correctness of all messages exchange between lower layers and application layer.
4.2. Other Solutions
5. Mesh Networking with IEEE 802.15.4
5.1. Reference Standard: ZigBee Pro & ZigBee 3.0
- Coordinator: each ZigBee Pro network can contain one and only one coordinator. This node is started before the other since it is responsible for network formation. The coordinator, in fact, selects the frequency channel to use and manages the operations related to the join of new child nodes in the network. After the establishment of the network, the coordinator performs routing-related activities, relaying messages among the nodes, sending and receiving messages.
- Router: is another type of node with routing capabilities. It sends and receives data, and allows other child nodes to join the mesh network. A ZigBee-based network can contain several routers which must always be available to maintain routing among nodes.
- End device: is a node which simply sends or receives data to or from its parent node, without routing functionality. Since end devices can be battery-powered, when they are not transmitting or receiving data, they can sleep in order to preserve power; hence, messages addressed to a sleeping end device E will be buffered by the parent node until E awakens. A ZigBee network can comprise many end devices, which cannot have child nodes, since they cannot relay messages or admit new nodes in the network.
- Device discovery: returns to the requesting node the addresses of a network node. If the node starting the request is the network coordinator or a router, it may supply the addresses on behalf of all the devices that are under its control, in addition to its own address . In this way, all devices in a network can be discovered with a request from the coordinator to all children, in a recursive way .
- Route discovery: allows to know the best available route for an outgoing message from a source to the destination node. If a route already exists, the message is routed along it; otherwise, the routing node sending the message (which can be, as already mentioned, the coordinator or an intermediate router) initiates the discovery procedure that, once completed, returns the calculated route along which the outgoing message will be sent. In detail, a route discovery procedure involves the following steps: (i) the parent of the source end device () sends a broadcast discovery request with the end device’s network address; (ii) the parent of the destination end device () receives the broadcast discovery request, and sends back a reply addressed to ; and (iii) when the reply message is forwarded back through the ZigBee Pro network, the number of hops a measure of each hop signal quality are recorded. In this way, each routing node composing the path can store a routing table entry containing the best path to which generally, is the one with the smallest number of hops. Thanks to this strategy, unidirectional routes from a source to a destination end device are built. This means that the reverse routes (from to ), must be discovered starting a new route discovery round.
5.2. Other solutions
- Thread presents a small and low-consumption footprint, interoperable and scalable up to a huge number of devices, thus being reliable and secure, avoiding single bottlenecks and failure points.
- Thread presents a flexible intermediate layer allowing the device-to-device communication across all networks.
- Thread provides a security layer admitting to join a Thread-based network only to authenticated devices, thus encrypting the traffic flowing inside the network and including built-in link-layer authorization policies.
- Thread is able to expand its controlled network (composed by low-power nodes) to external networks (e.g., either based on IEEE 802.11 or IEEE 802.3) or to the Internet, through the adoption of border routers.
- Thread allows the inclusion of battery-powered nodes into a Thread-handled network, avoiding frequent coin-cell changes and, in this way, allowing those that people use every day—such as thermostats and lighting controls.
5.2.2. Lightweight Mesh (LWMesh)
- Native routing: since, through this mechanism, LWMesh performs route discovery without any additional structure, then the native routing algorithm is not able to guarantee the optimality of discovered routes.
- AODV routing: as introduced in Section 2.1, this is a standard routing algorithm using additional commands to perform route discovery, which might take longer time, but able to guarantee optimality in the discovered routes and to cope with groups of nodes.
5.3. Applications: Comparison between ZigBee Pro and LWMesh Protocols
5.3.1. Application Layer Throughput
5.3.2. Routing Latency
5.3.3. Self-healing Capabilities
6. LoRa Mesh Networking
- full dumps packets, containing route informations (such as next-hop and rate/link metric)—dumps are transmitted after receiving a beacon;
- data packets, containing the actual data to be sent.
7. Ongoing and Future Developments
7.1. Smart Agriculture
7.2. Smart City
7.3. General Considerations and Future Technologies Developments
- Coverage (dimension: [m]): intended as the area which can be covered using a mesh network based on the analyzed technology.
- Range (dimension: [m]): intended as the transmission range of a single node in the mesh network.
- Scalability: intended as the capability of a mesh network, based on used wireless technology, to scale.
- Data Rate (dimension: [b/s]): measured on single nodes.
- Network topology: intended as the degree of complexity reachable building different network topologies.
- Battery Life (dimension: [days]): measured on single nodes.
- Power Consumption (dimension: [W]): measured on single nodes.
- Latency (dimension: [s]): intended as the capability of a technology to obtain low latencies among nodes communications.
- Deployment: intended as the complexity to deploy a mesh network based on the specific wireless technology.
Conflicts of Interest
|LoRa||IEEE 802.15.4||IEEE 802.11||IEEE 802.15.1|
|Max Scale ()||6||6||7||8||8||6||6||6||6||6|
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