Mesh networking with multiple Raspberry Pi boards

Since he’s got several Raspberry Pi boards on hand [Eric Erfanian] decided to see what he could pull off using the robust networking tools present in every Linux installation. His four-part series takes you from loading an image on the SD cards to building a mesh network from RPi boards and WiFi dongles. He didn’t include a list of links to each article in his post. If you’re interested in all four parts we’ve listed them after the break.

He says that getting the mesh network up and running is easiest if none of the boards are using an Ethernet connection. He used the Babel package to handle the adhoc routing since no device is really in charge of the network. Each of the boards has a unique IP manually assigned to it before joining. All of this work is done in part 3 of the guide. The link above takes you to part 4 in which [Eric] adds an Internet bridge using one of the RPi boards which shares the connection with the rest of the mesh network.

If the power of this type of networking is of interest you should check out this home automation system that takes advantage of it.

[Eric's] RPI Mesh Networking Articles:

Comments

  1. jeeves says:

    Typo: none of the boards are using an Ethernet connection

    should be “none of the boards is”

  2. randomdude says:

    mesh wireless networking… guess this technology would be developing at a much faster rate if you could charge for it, just like for 3g or 4g connection ;-)

  3. cutandpaste says:

    The future, IMNSHO, involves mesh. Especially for areas with any manner of population density.

    For instance: In the age of increasingly-pervasive bandwidth caps, why torrent indiscriminately from a machine on the other side of the pond when the same file is directly available a few hops away over WLAN from a dude down the block or elsewhere in the building?

    In and around my house, in my not-so-dense neighborhood of medium-sized houses and big yards, I can find between 15 and 21 different access points that are obviously operated by my neighbors.

    Extrapolated out a couple of hops, and one can form a sizeable mesh network very quickly.

    Does performance degrade as it scales? Of course. But that’s why we’ve got things like QoS and TTL, to balance performance as it scales and allow folks to get the most of their own hardware.

    AFAICT, this has all been fairly practical for a few years now. All that’s left is protocol support in applications and factory-made wireless gear.

    (Or maybe it was just a dream…)

    • Erik Johansson says:

      Maybe for things that don’t use bandwidth, for anything else mesh doesn’t give enough umpf, and you forget that “over the pond” isn’t a good measure there have been many instances were we went over the pond and back again just to route between different operator.

      Networks are hard.

  4. Whatnot says:

    I hear apple wants to move away from intel completely and AMD gave themselves over to JP morgan for a possible sale (or in other words is committing harikiri), coupled with a windows8 version for ARM made it seems ARM might be the future of CPU’s.
    So it might be a good time to start developing for it eh.

    • Matt says:

      That’s a pretty long bow you are drawing there. ARM is a great platform to develop for, but not necessarily for those reasons.

      • Whatnot says:

        I’m not convinced ARM can do it, but I think the intel architecture might be getting a bit dated and a million extensions is not necessarily helping things really, not as much as you’d hope/expect. The problem might be the legacy expectations causing them to have to stay too much stuck in some areas as opposed to what you’d get if you started with a clean ship.

        But these things aren’t decided by a single person after long thought but by many factors and sales and money and patents and old software and all that. The old betamax vs VHS (vs v2000) effect, it’s not always about technological superiority, quite the opposite even. And as outsider all you can do is roll with the punches.

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