Wireless Mesh Network Management
Wireless mesh networks are cost-effective and self-healing networks that operate in mesh topology. Mesh networks are widely used across different industries for their ability to work without a problem, even during a multi-point failure. A typical mesh network consists of three to four device types:
- Head End or Gateway: A routing device which is normally connected to the internet.
- Repeater: This repeats the wireless signals from the head end or gateway to the other network nodes (and vice-versa).
- Customer Premises Equipment or Access-Points: These are nodes that become the mesh end-points or terminals where the applications or devices connect to the mesh network. In some cases, the endpoint may be a dual band radio that can double as an access-point.
- Clients: End devices include laptops and mobile devices that connect to the mesh network through the access-point for internet connectivity. Another example of a client is a smart meter that utilizes the mesh network to transfer meter reading data to the utility Head End.
Challenges with managing wireless mesh networks
Since mesh networks by nature tend to be highly available they are becoming widely deployed around the world. Mesh networks tend to be very dynamic and therefore a good Element Management System (EMS) is crucial to keeping a mesh network healthy. Interruptions ranging from strong winds to air-traffic patterns can result in links between the nodes going down requiring another path be established between the nodes so that interruption in services could be avoided.
Dhyan's solution for managing wireless mesh networks
Dhyan's NetMan has been rebranded and used by several device manufacturers as their Element Management System. For over a decade, NetMan's wireless mesh solutions have been trusted by network operators to manage mesh infrastructure. NetMan's architecture and its ability to manage the dynamism of links has been the key reason for its success with several mesh providers. Our product's wireless mesh solutions offer the following key features to give network operators an edge:
- Dynamic discovery of new devices: Dynamically discovers new devices added to the network. This avoids the errors associated with manual tracking of installations. The network engineer can just focus on adding new devices while NetMan takes care of the rest.
- Single point of failure identification: Effectively manages dynamic links and identifies scenarios where an endpoint might be in danger of a single point of failure. This warning helps operators stay proactive in the handling of issues.
- Proactive detection of network conflicts: Proactively detects network conflicts by monitoring the network configuration of the Ethernet ports of each mesh element.
- Trend detection for preventive maintenance: Detects trends in the degradation of signal strength and modulation. Then alerts the user to perform necessary preventive maintenance before a breakdown happens.
- Leaf-to-root configuration updates: Pushes all configuration and upgrades in a leaf-to-root order, minimizing network downtime to an order of "log N" instead of N, where N-indicates network depth.
- Google Maps integrated deployment views: Provides intuitive views of network deployments using the Google Maps integrated deployment view. This helps users visualize the topology, and identify network expansions and locations in which to add additional repeaters.
- Logical topology views: The logical topology view complements the Google Maps deployment view by offering a logical view of the network for operators. This topology view can be used to analyze the mesh pattern in a conventional whiteboard approach.
- Automatic traffic re-routing support: Using NetMan's alarm triggered configuration capabilities, automatic traffic re-routing can be enabled whenever a critical failure happens in the network. Operators can use this feature to create proactive measures for issues that have cropped up in the past. Instead of creating a knowledge base, each problem that the operators encounter can allow them to design a more resilient and self-healing network.
- Identification of peak traffic areas: Usage patterns can be analyzed using NetMan's trend analysis engine and access points can be added to areas that are more crowded to handle peak traffic. This is another proactive way to expand the network only where needed.