WiMesh: Leveraging Mesh Networking For Disaster Communication in Poor Regions of the World

01/03/2021 ∙ by Usman Ashraf, et al. ∙ 0

This paper discusses the design, implementation and field trials of WiMesh - a resilient Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) based disaster communication system purpose-built for underdeveloped and rural parts of the world. Mesh networking is a mature area, and the focus of this paper is not on proposing novel models, protocols or other mesh solutions. Instead, the paper focuses on the identification of important design considerations and justifications for several design trade offs in the context of mesh networking for disaster communication in developing countries with very limited resources. These trade-offs are discussed in the context of key desirable traits including security, low cost, low power, size, availability, customization, portability, ease of installation and deployment, and coverage area among others. We discuss at length the design, implementation, and field trial results of the WiMesh system which enables users spread over large geographical regions, to communicate with each other despite the lack of cellular coverage, power, and other communication infrastructure by leveraging multi-hop mesh networking and Wi-Fi equipped handheld devices. Lessons learned along with real-world results are shared for WiMesh deployment in a remote rural mountainous village of Pakistan, and the source code is shared with the research community.

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