[Battlemesh] Meshing with strong/near clients and weak/far nodes

Ben West ben at gowasabi.net
Mon Feb 17 21:55:26 CET 2014

I'm curious if list members have found clever approaches for operating mesh
nodes that must talk simultaneously to near/strong clients and far/weak
clients.  I've found that, at least with atheros / ath5k-based nodes
running OpenWRT AA r39154, which do single-radio meshing via multiple VIFs,
connecting a particular strong client to the AP VIF of one node can disrupt
that node's communication with a distant node on the adhoc VIF.  Admitted,
the ath5k driver is pretty suboptimal, but its weakness does at least
demonstrate the nature of the problem easily.

This problem is less pronounced with ar71xx-based nodes, e.g. UBNT Airmax
gear, and I do understand it is going to fundamental to single-radio
meshing applications anyway (i.e. hidden node problem).  Likewise, one
can't always control clients' TX strength, besides mounting nodes at
locations such that a client can never be physically too close, e.g. on a
rooftop or high on an exterior wall.

Acknowledging the limits of the radios, I'm curious if anyone has had
reasonable success in these situations with things the following:

- RF-Armor style shielding on the back of the mesh node, i.e. to reduce the
influence of stray noise or reflections
- Setting an RTS value

Ben West
ben at gowasabi.net
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