Wireless Mesh Networks (WMNs) consist of mesh routers and mesh clients, where mesh routers have minimal mobility and form the backbone of WMNs. They provide network access for both mesh and conventional clients. The integration of WMNs with other networks such as the Internet, cellular, sensor networks, etc., can be accomplished through the gateway and bridging functions in the mesh routers. Mesh clients can be either stationary or mobile, and can form a client mesh network among themselves and with mesh routers. WMNs are anticipated to resolve the limitations and to significantly improve the performance of adhoc networks, wireless localarea networks (WLANs), wireless personal area networks (WPANs), and wireless metropolitan area networks (WMANs).
They are undergoing rapid progress and inspiring numerous deployments. WMNs will deliver wireless services for a large variety of applications in personal, local, campus, and metropolitan areas. Despite recent advances in wireless mesh networking, many research challenges remain in all protocol layers. This paper presents a detailed study on recent advances and open research issues in WMNs. System architectures and applications of WMNs are described, followed by discussing the critical factors influencing protocol design. Theoretical network capacity and the state-of the-art protocols for WMNs are explored with an objective to point out a number of open research issues. Finally, test beds, industrial practice, and current standard activities related to WMNs are highlighted.
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