Mesh network technology is a communications network model that is analogous to the way the wired internet works, since there are at least two possible pathways between each node. Mesh is a network architecture that improves on point-to-point and point-to-multi-point (i.e. centralized hub and spoke) topologies by providing each node multiple possible connection path ways to every other node.
Mesh networking techniques, coupled with new high bandwidth radio systems can now offer the same or better reliability and capacities of land line based backhaul for a fraction of the cost. One of the key enablers of a mesh network node is the ability to "hop" its signal though neighboring nodes in the network via peer-to-peer links. The peer-to-peer links in the mesh network enable nodes to act as router/repeaters for their neighboring nodes, which inherently extends the coverage, capacity, and robustness of the network for no additional cost. In the case where peer-to-peer and multi-hopping capabilities are extended down to the individual user device, ad hoc meshed networks can be set up with "zero infrastructure". That is, the users themselves "are the network" and can form a broadband mesh among them anytime, anywhere. This enables mesh networks to be highly portable and deployable for first responders at an incident or remote location with each vehicle acting as an access point for other vehicles, something unavailable with traditional tower-based network topologies.
As opposed to fixed wireless networks, Mesh networks are trulywireless. Only one node needs to be physically wired to a network connection like a DSL or internet modem. This node shares its internet with all other nodes in its range, wirelessly and this process is carried on to form a cloud of wireless connectivity that can provide internet for a small office to a city covering a population of millions.