WLAN and Mesh Networks
In this chapter, we will briefly describe the main features of the WLAN concept and related technology, whose use is becoming widespread. We will also describe an extension of the WLAN design based on the mesh networking paradigm, which is currently being considered as a very promising solution to reduce installation costs and improve coverage in WLAN environments (and not just those). For the wireless network paradigms considered, we will first present state of the art and representative use cases, and then proceed to describe technological evolutions envisioned in the near future.
A WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) is a network used to connect two or more devices (called stations in WLAN terminology) in a geographic vicinity. The main purpose of the WLAN technology is to replace cables in the setup and operation of a local area network.
The spatial domain spanned by a single WLAN varies from relatively small environments (a room, or a house), to medium-size environment (a building), and up to relatively large areas covering a few square kilometers (e.g., a university campus). It is important to note that, even in their largest deployments, WLANs cover only a small fraction of a cellular network cell, whence the name local in the WLAN acronym.
The WLAN concept was developed in the 1980s, following experiments performed by Norman Abramson at the University of Hawaii when testing for the first time wireless ...