Ad-hoc wireless networks made easy

04 Sep 2008

ITEM: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently presented details of two experimental wireless networks that are, in essence, designed to help you build them.

The concept - nodes for ad hoc wireless networks that tell you where they should be set up - is aimed at emergency response teams that need to set up local wireless comms networks quickly.

Ad hoc networks are designed to run without any central control, but the real challenge is finding appropriate spots to place the nodes on the fly.

According to MIT Technology Review, the NIST prototypes, which have been under development for more than three years, "use algorithms to monitor the signal-to-noise ratio of transmissions and automatically warn when a new node should be set down."

This not only makes the deployment process more efficient and flexible enough to deal with local structure and terrain issues, it's also more cost-effective in that helps avoid overdeploying more nodes than you need, which can expensive.

Potential downside: the NIST prototype can't track location, unless it is in a building that already has passive RFID chips installed.

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