On-demand networks are not new. Plug-and-play functionality has been a component of networking solutions for quite some time, because network access is a constant and ever-changing issue affecting most operations. As communication capabilities become critical in daily and emergency operations, the need for networking ability, regardless of location or situation, arises.

Instant access

Instant networks are gaining ground with good reason. One of the main benefits of instant networks is that they allow for, as their name implies, instant access to a network.

That may not make much sense upon first glance, but it is an issue increasing in relevance, as certain circumstances just do not allow for the margin of error associated with downed networks.

No other scenario illustrates this point more so than events involving law enforcement and first responders. Most operate though Wi-Fi these days because it allows for enhanced roaming capabilities.

Problems crop up when a base station goes down, either through loss of power or other occurrence. This is when communications are compromised, as traditional systems just are not designed to immediately compensate for such outages.

New advances in technology, mainly supported by software solutions, have emerged that help rectify such problems. The most promising is software that allows for all of those Wi-Fi-enabled devices to communicate with one another and form their own mesh network when needed.

Temporary options

There are times when getting a temporary network running is a necessity to keep things moving. Temporary systems such as power and lighting have become critical components, but there are other systems that can benefit by moving to a temporary setup, such as voice and data systems.

Setting up a temporary system for network access can be tricky because many other systems are required for its operation. But, when all other systems are ‘go,’ it makes sense that using a way to access the network would be feasible. Temporary solutions are just that, temporary. But, in some instances, temporary is all one has to work with.

Take instances such as construction sites, areas affected by natural disasters and places such as trade shows that are only used for a brief time. In these examples, a temporary network is an ideal solution for technological needs in a less than permanent location.

Mesh is the word

One of the main drivers behind temporary networks is the use of mesh networking.

By definition, mesh networks route voice and data between devices connected to the network itself. The best part about mesh networks, and what makes them ideal for temporary solutions, is that they are considered to be self-healing. This means that if any one of the devices connected to the network goes down, all other devices can maintain communications by the signal moving from device to device until a connection has been established.

Because of this ability to keep on going, mesh networks are quite reliable.

Now, a wireless mesh network is where things get interesting. The devices, also called nodes in mesh networking terminology, act as repeaters. This means that you only need to transmit its signal to where the next node is located. Radio waves are used for transmission, something along the lines of radio frequency identification.

These types of networks can expand rapidly because they are only limited by devices. That means to expand the network, just tack on extra devices. When the devices are communicating with one another they are also determining whether or not to pass that signal on to the next device in the chain to eventually get to the device that needs to be communicated with.

Wireless mesh networks are starting to pop up everywhere and in cases where temporary networks are required; many are finding that tapping in to such networks literally can save the day. EC

STONG-MICHAS, a freelance writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached at JenLeahS@msn.com.