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IoT Library: Mesh Networks Ideal for Smart Home Control Applications

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Elephant Pete
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When mesh networks are not ideal
Elephant Pete   4/28/2016 2:21:34 PM
I've come across many installations where a hub/gateway may be in one part of a building and need to connect to devices in another part, which is too far away for a direct connetion. Under these circumstances, a mesh network may seem ideal, but here are the problems:

1. You need to realise that a device is out of range. This may necessitate adding an extra node in the middle where it is in range of both the device and the gateway. I can generally work this out, but many installers, and certainly the average consumer, just think it's not working.

2. In most types of network, nodes that do the meshing (relay data) need to be always on, and hence mains powered. I've found that many people don't want to plug in ZigBee or Z-Wave devices that don't do anything other than form the mesh.

OK, if you're installing a system that has lots of nodes all over a building then this may not be much of a problem, but most people I've come across don't put in a whole network at once. They start off with a point solution (eg: a thermostat or smoke detector) and then add to it later.

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