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NodeTypes


Introduction

While the wireless network in Melbourne is in it's infancy other communities have very well developed infrastructure. In the US community networks are not necessary providing an alternative network to the ISP provided ones but are rather providing wireless access for community members whereever they are.These networks are successful as there is no bandwidth limits from the regular ISP's and every coffe shop is able to hook up a DSL modem and an AP to become a node.

In the well developed "geek" centres (Bay Area, Seattle, Austin among others) the local wireless orgs assist the setup of nodes to enlarge the coverage of the network. That's not to say they don't build backbone infrastructure as it is also high on their objectives but citywide access for members seems to be the driving factor.

Here in AUS it's a little different as the lack of competition means that most ISP's still gouge their customers and apply fairly draconian conditions (about what you can hook up, sharing your bandwidth, etc.).

The Melbourne Wireless network is pretty fragmented at the moment. There are pools of linked nodes but no city wide backbone yet. That seems to be the primary goal for the group at the moment. Creating a backbone is very dependant on individuals that want ot be part of it.

So what is a node and do you have one yet?

Seattle Wireless probably has the best classification of node types:


These node definitons really need to be applied a bit loosely as in reality a node will start out as one type and morph into a different type depending on the availability of other nodes to link to. Perhaps the most common variation would be a hybrid Bx-Cx that would have links to other nodes and support either Client Nodes or Cx Nodes on the BSS interface.

Another common evolution would be a node that starts out running a BSS interface and has a number of other nodes pointng their uplink links to it. In this case the links may be sub-optimal but are likely to suffice for the amount of traffic and usage of the connected nodes. (Note that as the discrete areas of connectivity coalesce and the network becomes used more that these types of "shared" connections will become bottlnecks in the network).

Logical view of different nodes:


Client Nodes

A Client Node is a node that connects to a Dx Node or Cx Node, typically using BSS mode. It could be a PC, laptop or handheld device. A Client Node could be fixed or mobile.

Dx Node

Dx Nodes is a node without any upstream connection, this is typically the node you install at home when you want to get wireless in your house. It allows your wireless devices to be part of your home LAN and you may have internet access for your own personal use. In this scenario you keep the node closed and may use some form of encryption (weak though it may be).
  +-----------------+
  |                 |
  |                 |
  |           +-----+
  |           | BSS |---\/\---  to Client Nodes
  |           +-----+
  |                 |
  |                 |
  +-----------------+

Cx Node

Cx Node is a node with one upstream connection. A Cx Node connects to a single Bx Node. The CxNode accepts connections from Client Nodes and routes thouse requests to it's upstream connection. At this level routing is easy. The Cx Node is the on-ramp to the local wireless network.
  +-----------------+
  |                 |
  |                 |
  |          +------+
  |          | BSS  | ---\/\--- to Client Nodes
  |          +------+
  |                 |
  |          +------+ 
  |          | IBSS | +++++++++ to upstream Bx Node
  |          +------+
  |                 |
  |                 |
  +-----------------+ 

Bx Node

Bx Nodes support a pool of Cx Nodes and have two links to other Bx Nodes provides DHCP to the client Cx Nodes and intellegent routing. So a Bx Node has 3 radios, one for supporting the Cx Node pool and two more for making redundant links to the rest of the backbone using two other Bx Nodes.
  +-----------------+
  |                 |
  |                 |
  |          +------+
  |          | BSS  | ---\/\--- to Cx Nodes
  |          +------+
  |                 |
  |          +------+
  |          | IBSS | +++++++++ to peer Bx Node
  |          +------+
  |                 |
  |          +------+
  |          | IBSS | +++++++++ to peer Bx Node
  |          +------+
  |                 |
  |                 |
  +-----------------+

Ax Node

Ax Nodes or Super Bx Nodes have more then 3 radios and tend not to support a client cloud ( no Cx Nodes hanging of it). It provides routing between it's multiple interfaces.

Variations

A number of variations of this classification exist. Perhaps the most common are nodes that provide a hybrid functionality betwen a Cx Node and a BX Node. This is common in a young network such as ours as it is more important to get some links in place than to do it in a strictlu herachical sense.

Bx Cx Hybrid

A node that could qualify as a BX Node is more of well linked Cx Node. This node has the typical Cient Nodes but also has a link (or two) to other Bx Nodes on the same interface. The ideal situation would be for this node to have a dedicated raido(s) for the links to the Bx Nodes but for the time being the conncetion is established using the omni interface of the node.

Re-trans

A re-trans is a pair of radios that provide linkage between two nodes that would not otherwise be able to connect. A retrans may be desirable due to terrain and the lack of suitable nodes in the location.

Hypothetical example

In this example a number of Bx Nodes are configured in the same manner. They use Ch 6 in IBBS mode to communicate to one or more Cx Nodes that in turn use Ch12 in BSS mode to commuicate with a number of Client Nodes. This is kind of an ideal situation, each Bx Node has 3 radios with dedicated links. In reality many of our Nodes will be less optimal.

     |
  +-----+IBBS                       +------+
  | BxN |---\/\---               -->|Client|
  +-----+Ch 6                   /   +------+
 IBBS|Ch 1                     /    
  +-----+IBSS      +-----+BSS /     +------+
  | BxN |---\/\--->| CxN |---\/\--->|Client|
  +-----+Ch 6      +-----+Ch12\     +------+
     |                         \
     |                          \   +------+ This client could roam between the 
 IBBS|Ch 11                      -->|Client| the two CxN if they used the same ESSID
     |                          /   +------+
     |                         /    
  +-----+IBSS      +-----+BSS /     +------+
  | BxN |---\/\--->| CxN |---\/\--->|Client|
  +-----+Ch 6      +-----+Ch 1\     +------+
 IBBS|Ch 1                     \
  +-----+IBBS                   \   +------+
  | BxN |---\/\---               -->|Client|
  +-----+                           +------+
     |



Node Examples

Looking at the node finder we can see that there is not a lot of linkage activity in our network yet. Some areas are well on the way to creating isolated Bx Nodes that serve potential Cx Nodes but we don't have much in the way of Bx Node linkage.

RGInnerNorth

NodeBHH is a great example of an almost-Bx Node. There are lots of links sharing the same radio and some of these links are potential Bx Nodes. This is an example of growing and changing as needed. If one of the linked sites establishes a further link to another potential Bx Node then BHH may drops it from the BSS connection and establshes a dedicated link (or perhaps not!).

                    BSS|Ch 6
                       |
                    +-----+BSS
                   >| FUS |---\/\---
                    Bx----+Ch 3
 
 +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS
 | BHH |---\/\---  >| FZJ |---\/\---
 +-----+Ch 11       Cx----+Ch 3
 
                    +-----+BSS
                   >| FMK |---\/\---
                    Cx----+Ch 8
 
                    +-----+?
                   >| FNZ |---\/\---
                    Cx----+Ch ?
 
                    +-----+ 
                   >| DCH | (ClientNode or Dx Node)
                    +-----+
 
                    +-----+ 
                   >| HFL | (ClientNode?)
                    +-----+




Southern

So whats going on here? NodeGMR and NodeGES are Bx Nodes and AFH and FBD are on their way to being the same. Again the use of BSS and linking into the omni of a neighboring node seems to be the norm, the Bx Cx hybrid we saw in the other example.

 +-----+
 | HZN |
 +-----+
    |                  |
IBSS|Ch ?          IBSS|Ch 2
    |                  |
 +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS
 | GMR |---\/\---  >| GES |---\/\---  >| AFH |---\/\---  >| FBD |---\/\---
 Bx----+Ch 4        Bx----+Ch 1        Cx----+Ch 4        Cx----+Ch 1
    |
 BSS|Ch ?
    |                                  +-----+
                                      >| GEZ |
                                       +-----+



Dandenong Foothills

Classic Bx Node structure here.

                    BSS|Ch ?
                       |
 +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS
 | AAF |---\/\---  >| GUR |---\/\---  >| HKF |---\/\---
 Cx----+Ch ?        Bx----+Ch 8        Cx----+Ch 6
    |
    |               +-----+            +-----+
    |              >| FGH |           >| HUT |
    |               +-----+            +-----+
    |
    |               +-----+            +-----+
    |              >| FUT |           >| ICW |
IBSS|Ch 6           +-----+            +-----+
    |
    |               +-----+            +-----+
    |              >| HCL |           >| HNB |
    |               +-----+            +-----+
    |
    |               +-----+
    |              >| GAZ |
    |               +-----+
    |                   
 +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS         +-----+BSS         +-----+
 | FKR |---\/\---  >| HKR |---\/\---  >| GWS |---\/\---  >| BFI |
 Bx----+Ch 1        Cx----+Ch 10       Bx----+Ch 11       +-----+
    |                                     |    
 BSS|Ch ?           +-----+            BSS|Ch 1
    |              >| HLR |               |
                    +-----+
 
                    +-----+
                   >| HMF |
                    +-----+
 
                    +-----+
                   >| FRJ |
                    +-----+


Version 7 (current) modified Tue, 03 Jul 2007 23:12:18 +1000 by dna0xff
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