Rajant Kinetic Mesh System Treats Everything as an Internet Access Point (Well, Maybe Not Everything…)

Rajant Kinetic Mesh radio systems spawned as a result of the aftermath of the September 11th attacks – during the days fo rescue efforts at Ground Zero, there was no internet access due to a complete loss of infrastructure in the area.  They decided to make a quickly-deployable self-integrating wireless network system to provide connectivity to remote or emergency areas.
While radio mesh systems are nothing new, what differentiates the Rajant network from other products is the WAY they build a network.  Most systems consist of a hub-and-spoke configuration, in which a central hub will communicate to the network, and individual devices connect to the single hub.  A home wifi network follows this setup, in which all computers, tablets, etc. have to connect to the single wifi router which in turn is connected to the internet service through a modem or other means.  The major flaw with this configuration is that there is a single point of failure – if the wifi router hub fails, the entire network goes down.
Rajant radios, on the other hand, do not use a hub-and-spoke configuration – rather, EVERY device is a hub and spoke simultaneously – there is no back-haul of connectivity.   As radio devices enter and exit the network, every one is capable of becoming an ad-hoc router to every other device on the network.  This way, if one device goes down on the network all of the other devices will maintain a connection through all of the devices in range on the network.  In simpler terms, using the example from before the concept would be that my phone on my “home” network would be connected to the internet not only through the wifi router, but also through a connection directly to my laptop, Roku, and every other device connected to the network.  As such, if I leave the range of the wifi router I could still be connected through my associated devices.  Certainly in this example I would fall victim to a failure if the wifi router went out, but with the Rajant system multiple direct internet-connected nodes would exist on the network to ensure complete up-time in the event of a local failure of an access point.  It reminds me a bit of NodeBeat:

NodeBeat for Android – Music app that uses nodes to generate notes and beats. Completely unrelated to Rajant or mining.

They have nodes (or “Breadcrumbs”, as they refer to them) that will work on any vehicle or equipment, as well as more portable options for hand-carry that can be powered by as little as 4 AA batteries.  The general range for each node will vary, as different licensed and un-licensed radio configurations are possible from 300mHz to 6gHz frequency.  All of the radio enclosures are machined aluminum and are approved for outdoor installations, meaning nodes can be set up on solar-powered remote stations for additional network extensions.
Another rather unique feature of the Rajant system is what they refer to as “Tactical Radio over I/P” which means it has voice connection through all of the nodes.  However, rather than a push-to-talk configuration like standard hand-held radios, it will run simultaneous voice, so as two people are talking they can hear at the same time they’re speaking – no more over-riding transmissions when someone keys their microphone.  Hopefully no one on the network has a propensity for swearing, as it is an open channel for everyone all the time.
Clearly one issue the end-user will face will be ensuring up-time for all devices – even though the system will remain live if a node fails, it’s critical to maintain the health of each node for the sake of the entire network.  As such, Rajant has developed RRADS – the Rajant Remote Advanced Diagnostic System.  This system will monitor the entire network and all “breadcrumbs” involved, and will send diagnostic messages to the network administrator on-site to inform them of problems or failures.
More information can be found on their website.

About PJ