I – Introduction
Wireless mesh networks for local area networking have become popular in recent years in part because they solve some of the shortcomings of single router WLAN networks. Wireless mesh networks contain multiple nodes—routers and/or access points—working in concert to deliver data within a network. Multiple nodes can be placed strategically within an office or home to eliminate dead spots and to ensure that the signal strength is adequate wherever the LAN is needed. That is, a mesh network can extend the range and coverage area otherwise achieved by a single wireless node. A mesh network can also be more reliable than a conventional network configuration by providing redundant paths for data traffic, which can allow for uninterrupted communications even if a node fails.
II – Problem Statement
Existing wireless mesh networks have not been easy for most consumers to set up. Traditionally, setting up a wireless mesh network or adding nodes to an existing wireless mesh network have required complicated configuration of numerous parameters.
One of the most challenging aspects in setting up wireless mesh networks was that each node needed to be configured individually. This meant that the more nodes that one wished to add to a wireless mesh network, the more laborious the configuration one had to undertake.
A need therefore exists for a simple way to configure a wireless mesh network, particularly to simultaneously add multiple nodes to a wireless mesh network.
III – Solution
In order to solve the above-mentioned problems, the solution requires systems and methods for the simple configuration of wireless mesh networks, in particular the addition of nodes to such networks.
In this solution, new devices in the vicinity of a wireless mesh network broadcast signals, such as beacons, advertise their ability to join the wireless mesh network. These beacons may be detected by a primary device, such as a primary router, that is part of and can manage the wireless mesh network. The primary device is then able to establish temporary connections with the new devices that are eligible to join the wireless mesh network.
IV – Descriptions
1. Users determine mesh network settings including mesh-ID, channel, and password at the mesh router by mobile app or graphical user interface (GUI).
2. After the un-configured device powers on, in the first 6 minutes, the device creates a temporary interface to broadcast WDS learning IE and listens to receive the particular beacon with MSCA IE.
3. Users can trigger mesh simple configuration by app or GUI. The mesh router does a scan first to collect any neighbor’s beacon with WDS learning IE, and then creates a temporary interface to broadcast the beacon with MSCA IE.
4. Un-configured devices receive the particular beacon with MSCA IE and decrypts this information to establish a temporary connection with the mesh router.
5. The mesh router produces a candidate list of nodes through the scanning results and WDS temporary connection. The app or GUI gets the list, and the user applies the desired nodes from the list.
6. The mesh router sends authentication information to the candidate nodes through temporary connections.
7. The new or un-configured devices get authentication information to establish a formal connection with the mesh router and sets itself to be configured.
V – Conclusion
Systems and methods for managing a wireless mesh network, in particular to provide for the simple configuration of a plurality of unconfigured devices to be added to the wireless mesh network are proposed. New devices, such as beacons, in the vicinity of a wireless mesh network broadcast signals, advertising their ability to join the wireless mesh network. These beacons may be detected by a primary device, such as a primary router, that is part of and can manage the wireless mesh network. The primary device is then able to establish temporary connections with the new devices that are eligible to join the wireless mesh network. The primary device may generate a list of potential new nodes for presentation to an electronic device, such as a smartphone, from which a user can select a plurality of new devices to add as new nodes. Alternatively, the primary device automatically adds devices as nodes to the wireless mesh network based on various criteria.