Your WiFi, Superpowered

Anyfi is powered by mesh networking technology, a network system in which all nodes relay and route data for each other instead of through a static terminal. Mesh networks offer inherent performance and scalability benefits to infrastructure networks by inducing nodes to cooperate instead of compete with each other in communication.

 

Less Power

Power usage in 802.11 wireless networks is supralinear to the distance of transmission. Longer distances imply an accelerating probability of packet collision and/or corruption. Power reduction can be achieved by transmitting data over two short distances over one longer one. This translates to either a lower transmit power.

Some industry cynics fear that relaying traffic for others will deplete the batteries of the relay devices, especially at scale. These cynics forget the fundamental property of mesh networks: distribution. As the mesh network becomes more dense, more routing options become available for the end node. As traffic increases, the load (and the power demand) is kept at a manageable level to the individual nodes by the power of distributed networks.

 

tech_d.jpg

Superior coverage

Why mesh networks improve the coverage of WiFi networks is easy to comprehend; devices do not have to be in the range of an AP, as long as it is within the range of another device that is. But in addition to just distance, mesh networks improve network coverage by allowing devices to attain an indirect line-of-sight connection to the AP. Line of sight is critical to WiFi. Walls, appliances, corners, and pretty much anything solid sharply degrade a WiFi connection. Mesh networks allows alternative routes with a direct line-of-sight to the access point to be used instead of a direct connection without, affording a much superior connection than traditional WiFi networks.

 

Better congestion management

The performance gains of mesh networks is a bit more subtle. In a network with one AP and two client devices, one may reason that having one device relay the traffic for another will degrade the throughput of the former, rather than having the two devices communicate with the AP directly.

Why this is false becomes easier to understand if we understand the AP and its nearby wireless spectrum as a shared resource that can be used by a few devices at a time. Network congestion occurs because devices fail to synchronize their transmission times, therefore increasing the probability of packet collision or corruption. When the network becomes congested, most of the available bandwidth is consumed by colliding transmissions and retransmissions, leaving very little left to available traffic. The inference here is that if my device can help relay someone else’s connection in a mesh configuration, I can make sure my packets do not collide with theirs, vastly freeing up the AP’s available capacity.