Scalable Wireless Mesh Networks
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Wireless Mesh Networks (WMNs) are wireless multi-hop networks built on wireless nodes that operate in an Independent Basic Set Identifier (IBSS) mode of the IEEE 208.11 wireless standard. IBSS is well known as an ad hoc mode which is found to build ad hoc wireless networks with the aid of routing protocols crafted to work in this mode. Ad hoc wireless mesh networks are always described as self-healing, self-configuring, easy to build, etc. However, these features do come at a cost because a WMN suffers performance degradation and scalability issues, which mainly come from the underlying IBSS mode that is used to form the physical network. Furthermore this is exacerbated by routing protocols in the upper layers which are intended to form a flat network architecture. Partitioning or clustering the flat network into smaller units has been proven to be a viable mechanism to counter the scalability problem in the communication network. The wired network for instance, presents a segmented, hierarchical architecture, where end user devices are organized in virtual local area networks (VLANs) using Ethernet switches and then Routers aggregate multiple VLANs. This thesis develops and evaluates a heterogeneous, clustering architecture to enhance WMN scalability and management. In the proposed architecture, the clustering is separated from the routing, where the clustering is done at the physical layer. At the routing level, each cluster is configured as a WMN using layer 2 routing for intra-cluster routing, and layer 3 routing for inter-domain routing between clusters. Prototypes for the proposed architecture have been built in a laboratory testbed. The proposed architecture reported better scalability and performance results compared to the traditional flat architecture.