In creating wireless networking solutions suitable for deployment in harsh, unpredictable and widespread environments, we were confronted with a series of problems as yet unsolved by commercially available technologies. The purpose of this article is to describe how we addressed mission-critical customer requirements by developing a wireless technology explicitly for devices in ultra-low-power (ULP) and long-range wireless mesh networks. The key end-points in our target implementation are battery-operated devices located in hard-to-reach places, but which are nonetheless expected to offer a lifespan of several years without human intervention. We provide an overview of the technical requirements for building ULP networks, with a focus on configuration and management (including patent pending self-configuration and dynamic-routing features). This is followed by a case study of an existing 25,000-node wireless network deployed for an automatic meter reading (AMR) solution, and examples of provisioning individual nodes in complex real-world networks. Copyright Â© 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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