What are Mesh Networks?

Wireless mesh networks are a type of ad hoc network in which mesh nodes communicate with each other to relay data for a network connection across an expansive geographic area. These nodes are essentially tiny radio transmitters that mimic the function of wireless routers, and the software programmed therein enables information to travel seamlessly from one point to another. This emerging technology is particularly compelling because mesh networks are genuinely wireless; even current access points that are widely called wireless still rely on being wired to the Internet for broadcasting their signal. Instead, the mesh network set-up contains only one node that is physically wired to a modem or DSL and then shares that connection with all other nodes in the area. As a result, entire offices, campuses, and even cities can access the Internet. The speed and coverage of the connection depends on how many mesh nodes are installed. Mesh networks are well-poised to provide stronger and increased web access to education institutions and the communities around them.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs May 1, 2016 This technology has relevance for the educational sector in Africa because it opens up the prospect of more affordable and more sustainable connectivity access. The rollout of data networks to poor rural school communities remain a challenge an experiments with wireless mesh networks in rural South Africa for example, are showing promising opportunities.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - shafika.isaacs shafika.isaacs May 1, 2016 I think the ways in which wireless mesh networks enable affordable, sustainable and quality connectivity access for schools in poor rural areas in Africa, is an important theme to explore.

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

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