Traditionally, wireless networks are based on a star topology in which
all nodes communicate directly with the network master, and therefore
must be within direct communication range of the master.
If end-to-end transmission times are critical,
this can be an advantage considering that with every hop a packet
traverses, some latency is added.
However, star topologies lack both the
fault-tolerance required for harsh industrial environments, and the
ability to expand the distance of the network in large buildings or
For all but the most latency-sensitive
applications, mesh topologies are widely viewed as superior. In a mesh
topology, data can be forwarded from node to node until the intended
final destination is reached.
If individual transmission segments are
temporarily unavailable, data can be re-routed to an alternate path.
This allows the creation of redundant wireless device networks with the
ability to self-recover from single points of failure, which
considerably increases overall reliability.