Mesh Networks – Risk Managers Will Love Them

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How Does MultiPeer Connectivity Work?

Multipeer Connectivity allows an app to create a network, and allow others to join it.  Once they join the network, they can share content, stream content (like audio or video), and chat.

When iOS7 or later devices are connecting to the peer-to-peer meshed network, they make use of any of the available radios including Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  If there is no available Infrastructure Wi-Fi network, the device will use Peer-to-Peer Wi-Fi to join the mesh network.

iOS7 or later devices can be members of more than one peer-to-peer network session, and iOS7 or later devices can bridge connectivity between members of the same peer-to-peer network session.

How Is MultiPeer Connectivity a Meshed Network?

Most of us are familiar with a hub-and-spoke network like a Wi-Fi Hotspot or our Wi-Fi network at home.  In fact, cellular networks are also hub-and-spoke networks.  As the name implies, each device on the network connects to all other devices on the network via a central hub.

With a hub-and-spoke network, if the hub does down, no devices can communicate.  This is the single point of failure.

On a meshed network, all devices can communicate directly with each other, with no need for a central hub.

iOS7 Multipeer networks also theoretically have no range limit. Because all devices can communicate with all other devices, and with the added benefit that any device can bridge communications, as long as a device is in-range of at least one other device, communications can remain established.

Why Will Risk Managers Be Happy?

Risk Managers, amongst other things, spend a lot of time figuring out how to keep a company or government agency working in a disaster. If there is a natural or man-made disaster that knocks out cell towers and Wi-Fi Hotspots, how do companies or government agencies keep communicating with their staff? If cell towers are down, nobody can make calls, but more importantly, nobody can communicate in any way.

With the Multipeer Connectivity Framework of iOS7, apps can be built that take advantage of the meshed network.  These apps can provide Instant Messaging (IM), streaming content (probably audio), and updates to documents like evacuation plans, and other important documents.

iOS7 Multipeer networks can also be encrypted so that information remains private within each network.  In addition, authentication can be mandated so that each device must provide login information to become part of the network.

Conclusion

Apple has provided a framework that does all of the heavy lifting for developers, allowing them to exploit the power of the meshed network without having to become network experts themselves.

Post Date: 3/27/2014

default blog image Craig Johnston

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