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Low-grade long distance networks using store-and-forward mesh networking

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000097044D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 42K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This invention describes a hybrid of WAN and LAN architectures using mesh network technology and store-and-forward technology.Data packets are propagate over long distances by exploitation of mobile electronic devices as moving access points in a mesh network. In addition, these access points are able to store packets when they are out of range of a nearest neighbour, or fixed access point, and forward them on when in range. The overall effect is a potentially low-cost alternative to networking built-up areas together with effectively transient infrastructure.

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Low-grade long distance networks using store -and-forward mesh networking

Disclosed is a system for connecting two access points in sparsely inhabited areas by transmitting individual packets of data via moving intermediaries, such as automobiles or hand-held mobile devices (phones, PDAs, laptops, etc). These intermediaries act as peer-to-peer repeaters, passing packets towards the designated receiver, where the packets can be collected and reassembled into the complete message.

    Providing interconnecting backbone networks between sparsely inhabited areas, especially when these areas are separated over long distances, usually requires the laying of some physical network medium (copper or fibre) or via long-range radio technology (GSM, GPRS, Satellite). These solutions involve high infrastructure costs.

    An alternative networking technology emerging in urban areas is Mesh Networks, using low-range radio networking devices as ad-hoc peer-to-peer repeaters. These mesh networks allow all nodes in the system to act as repeaters, connecting to fixed gateway nodes into the backbone. However, due to their low-range nature, they act in a relatively localized area around the fixed gateway nodes.

    This invention attempts to solve the problem of high infrastructure costs for long range backbone networks with the low-cost WLAN technology of mesh networks by exploiting automobile traffic as a low-grade carrier medium over long range distances.

    This invention describes a hybrid of WAN and LAN architectures using mesh network technology and store-and-forward technology to propagate packets over much longer distances by exploitation of automobiles travelling along roads as moving access points in a mesh network. In addition, these access points are able to store packets when they are out of range of a nearest neighbour, or fixed access point, and forward them on when in range. The overall effect is a potentially low-cost alternative to networking built-up areas together with effectively transient infrastructure.

    There is an old addage in network computing - "never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck load of disks travelling at 60 mph." This invention is a twist on this, taking the concept of mesh networks in urban areas and translating it to that of a road network.

    The invention is based on the premise that vehicles, whether privately owned or commercial, are fitted with mesh network devices, probably using something based on QDMA technology, as is broadly available through companies like Mesh Networks Inc. (www.meshnetworks.com). By integrating these low-cost devices into large numbers of vehicles, each vehicle travelling on the road system may act as a mesh network access point. A road network, covering a l...