Electronic Design

A Dozen Top Applications For Mesh Networks

1. Home monitoring and control: It's a snap to turn lights off and on or dim them. It's also easy to control gadgets like ceiling fans, power drapes, air conditioning, and heating appliances using simple ZigBee nodes. One or more access points can control a whole house.

2. Building monitoring and control: Monitoring and controlling lights, HVAC, and other functions in large office buildings, hotels, hospitals, and other structures can yield huge energy savings. The wiring to do this is too expensive to be practical, but with mesh networks, it becomes simple.

3. Industrial monitoring and control: Sensors in a mesh can provide massive amounts of detail about any process or manufacturing procedure. Wireless can serve as the feedback link in control systems. Machine conditions can be checked to provide maintenance information. Wireless mesh simplifies installation and maintenance, and the savings in wiring ($200 to $1000 per foot in critical areas) can be enormous. Some unexpected applications include mines and railroads.

4. Military communications and reconnaissance: A mesh makes soldier-to-soldier communications more reliable with longer range. Meshes also help tie together and coordinate many weapons and systems in monitoring and managing the battlefield.

5. Medical monitoring: Meshes make patient monitoring easier and more reliable, and it helps expand the range.

6. Consumer electronics equipment interconnections: It's possible to connect large-screen digital TV sets, DVD players, digital video recorders, stereo surroundsound systems, and set-top boxes at multiple locations with a specialized mesh network.

7. Automotive: New cars get more internal electronics and networks each year. A wireless mesh eliminates wiring and provides an improved way to monitor and control the hundreds of functions in a vehicle.

8. Broadband wireless access: A mesh network using Wi-Fi can be created to provide high-speed Internet connections as well as other broadband services in areas where cable TV or DSL lines aren't available. Many such networks already exist, and more are on the way.

9. Public service communications: A mesh network enhances and broadens police, fire, and other public service communications functions with a mesh network.

10. Automatic meter reading: Reading every electric and gas meter is a huge task. Now it can be economically implemented with low-cost mesh networks.

11. Environmental monitoring: With dozens or even hundreds of temperature, humidity, pollutant, and other sensors, the condition of any area can be easily monitored and tracked. Even individual trees, ponds, fields, and other sensitive places are trackable.

12. Security systems: Inexpensive sensor nodes can monitor virtually every entry point or approach to a facility.

TAGS: Medical
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