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Analysis of the 802.

11s Mesh Technology

Why Mesh?

Enables rapid deployment with lower-cost backhaul Easy to provide coverage in hard-to-wire areas Self-healing, resilient, extensible Greater range due to multi-hop forwarding

Typical Use Cases


Residential: In a typical residential use case, various devices in the home are connected via a Wireless Mesh network. Office: In an office deployment, the primary incentive to use a mesh network is increased mobility for devices and greater coverage. Campus, community, public access: The wireless backhaul lowers the cost and increases the bandwidth in comparison to wired media. Public Safety: This is basically formalizing an ad-hoc network and connecting it to infrastructure networks. This helps them connect to a central office for any kind of assistance or emergency response. Military: various units in a small geographical area can communicate with each other through a Wireless Mesh network that can be deployed rapidly and easily, and can also be removed with equal ease as units move forward.

Traditional Wireless LAN Deployment

Wireless Mesh Network

Mesh Architecture Components


Mesh Point Mesh Access Point Mesh Portal

Discovering other mesh stations


The discovery process uses the standard active and passive scanning mechanisms. Beacons and Probe request/ response contain Mesh info. A mesh profile consists of the following: Mesh ID element: an ASCII string, and uniquely identifies the mesh cloud. Mesh Configuration element: This element contains several subfields that describe the mesh capabilities of the local mesh station. Vendors can define their specific protocols. The sub fields are as follow:
Path selection protocol identifier: protocol used to determine the best path. Default is 0 (HWMP) Path selection metric identifier: the metric used to calculate the best path. Default is 0 (Airtime metric) Congestion control mode identifier: protocol used to manage congestion .Default Disabled. Synchronization method identifier: synchronization method among mesh stations. Default value is 0 (Neighbor Offset). Authentication protocol identifier: authentication method and protocol used between mesh stations. Default value is 0 (Open Mode). Mesh Formation Info element: That specifies how many peers the local station has. Its value is 1 shifted by number of neighbor mesh devices connected or 15 whichever is smaller. If 1 station connected it will be 1 << 1 = 0x02 Mesh capability element: Specify if the station accepts new peering (True = 0x1) and have forwarding capability (0x08). So 0x08 | 0x01 = 0x09.

Mesh Configuration in Beacon Frame

Peering with other mesh stations

Mesh Peering Management (MPM)

Open From Node 2 to Node 1

Open From Node 1 to Node 2

Confirm From Node 2 to Node 1

Confirm From Node 1 to Node 2

SAE Message Exchange

Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE) PMK Generation

PMK is used to derive a Mesh Temporal Key (MTK), used for encrypting unicast traffic between peer mesh stations, and a group key (GTK) is derived for broadcast traffic between peers. (per station GTK)

802.1X AAA server reachability Issue: If the Authentication server is on the wired network, using 802.1X implies that both mesh stations have access to the wired network and the server. Both Peer need to act as a Supplicant and as well as Authenticator and Authenticate each other.

Hybrid Wireless Mesh Protocol (HWMP)


On Demand: Path Request element (PREQ) (broadcast/unicast) Path Reply element (PREP) (unicast) Path Error element (PERR) (broadcast)

Proactive: Root Announcement element (RANN) (broadcast)

Path Request element (PREQ)


The MAC address of the originator of the PREQ. This MAC address will be transmitted along with the action frame, so that all stations on the path know which station originated the request. An Originator HWMP Sequence Number: this number uniquely identifies the request sent by the originator. A path discovery ID: It is used to uniquely identify the path that the originator is trying to build. A Time To Live (TTL) field and a Life Time field: these fields are present to avoid loops. The PREQ is allowed a defined number of hops (TTL). A Hop count to the originator. This field is incremented by each station on the path, and allows each station to determine its hop count to the originator. This field is also used for loop prevention. A metric field. This component shows the total metric to the originator, and is modified by each station on the path. Any receiving station determines its metric back to the originator by taking the value of the metric field, and by adding its own metric value to the emitting station. target address

Broadcast PREQ From Node 1 and target is Node 2

Path Reply element (PREP) and Path Error element (PERR)


PREP: The target MAC address and the associated target HWMP sequence number: This is useful, as a PREQ may be used to discover several target MAC addresses. These 2 subfields identify the target and the message used to discover it. The hop count to the target: this critical element will allow the originator to know how far the target is, from the responding station standpoint. The metric to the target: this information will be combined with the hop count by the originator to determine a best path to the target. A Time To Live (TTL) field and a Life Time field, used for loop prevention, just like for the PREQ process PERR: Target address, The HWMP sequence number, Reason for a rejection

PREP From Node 2 to Node 1

Root Announcement element (RANN)


The root mesh AP MAC address A bit indicating if the root mesh AP is a gate A HWMP sequence number, to uniquely identify this RANN. An Interval field, indicating (in TUs) how often the mesh root AP is sending the RANN message. A Time To Live (TTL) value, that will be decremented by each station transmitting the RANN. The TTL is used for loop prevention. A Hop Count field and a Metric field, modified by the stations forwarding the RANN so that each station knows the distance to the root mesh AP.

ROOT Announcement From Root

ROOT Announcement Forwarded by Non-Root

PREQ by Non-Root Node Target Root

PREP by ROOT

PREQ and PREP

Mesh Metric
Number of Hops to gateway: Simply counts the number of stations between the local station and the target destination. Less Number of Hop could mean best path but its not always the case as in between links might be not good. So combination with other factors can be used. RSSI of the next hop Mesh Point: This can be very useful in peer to peer path but if path is multi hop then Mesh path RSSI can be calculated with its use and best path can be used. Load on the Mesh Point: This defines the traffic that the mesh point is handling. This can be calculated on whole path and then lowest load path can be selected as best path Mesh Path RSSI: RSSI of all the hops are calculated and then on each path the minimum RSSI (Bottleneck) is taken in account. The path with better minimum RSSI is considered as best path. Number of Mesh Points Connected: This define number of Peers connected to station, more the number of peer more can be the Load. Using Static Routing: A pre-defined routing can be used as per user requirement. Airtime metric : the metric is a combination of data rate and bit error rate

Mesh Control Field

6 Address Scheme

6 Address Example

Example 1: Ping from client (00:11:22:31:15:29) connected at 1st hop node (00:11:22:34:15:29) via MPP (00:11:22:35:15:29) to Google using 6 Address via Gateway (2C:27:D7:6D: 2A:C0)

Ping Reply from Google via Gateway (2C:27:D7:6D: 2A:C0) to MPP (00:11:22:35:15:29) to 1st hop node (00:11:22:34:15:29) to DA client (00:11:22:31:15:29)

Synchronization with timestamps (Neighbor Offset)

Optional Components: Sleep Mode


Active Mode: in this mode, the mesh station is available at any time, to participate in data forwarding, path discovery, and MBSS management functions. The mesh station operates in the 802.11 standard Awake mode. Light Sleep Mode: in this mode, the mesh station tries to conserve battery while still performing some MBSS functions. The station alternates between Awake and Doze states. The station in light sleep mode can doze, and then awaken to receive the Beacon frame from the peer mesh station. The mesh station can then return to the Doze state after the beacon reception, if the peer mesh station did not indicate buffered individually addressed or group addressed frames. If an indication of buffered individually addressed frames is received, the light sleep mode mesh station sends a peer trigger frame to receive the buffered traffic. Deep Sleep Mode: in this mode, the station does not monitor its peer mesh stations. The sleeping station still has to awaken at a regular interval to send its own messages (beacons for example). It then has to stay awake a little bit longer, to give an opportunity to other stations to send a message to the local station, before going back to light or deep sleep.

Optional Components: Sleep Mode

Optional Components: Mesh beacon collision avoidance (MBCA)

Optional Components: Mesh coordination function (MCF)


MCF implements EDCA for contention-based channel access and another mechanism for contention-free channel access, called MCF controlled channel access (MCCA) Each station can enable its support for MCCA and show this support by setting to 1 the MCCA Enabled bit, which is in the Mesh Capability Subfield of the Mesh Configuration Element present in beacons and probe responses. mesh coordination function controlled channel access opportunity (MCCAOP) owner sends MCCAOP Setup Request element Action Frame.
The MCCAOP Offset field specifies how long after the DTIM should the first reservation start . The MCCAOP duration field specifies how long each reservation should last. The MCCAOP Periodicity specifies how many MCCAOPs are scheduled for each DTIM interval.

MCCAOP responders sends MCCA Setup Reply frame that accepts or reject the MCCAOP MCCA Advertisement frames. These frames are action frames sent to the broadcast address as soon as a change occurs in a MCCAOP and contains details about the various MCCAOP on the emitting station. Any MCCA enabled neighbor mesh station in range, that could cause interference to transmissions during these reserved time periods

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