When a new gated community is developed, the developer is usually responsible for the provision of utilities such as electricity, water, sanitation and roads to all of the units in the complex. In recent times, the provision of Community Internet connectivity is also regarded as an essential utility. Similarly, there is often a requirement for telephony solutions to enable intra-community communications with the gate for access control, as well as to provide the convenience and cost savings associated with landline service, rather than the more expensive mobile telephone services.
In a typical gated community internet solution, VBX would source Internet connectivity from a local provider (such as Telkom ADSL) and deliver this (perhaps over several kilometres by a long-distance wireless link) to various “supernodes” within the gated community, from which Internet and voice services would be redistributed to Mesh Potatoes on each residential unit.
This can be illustrated in the following diagram:
This Mesh Potato connects automatically to Mesh Potatoes on other residential units to find an optimal path to a “Supernode”, which links the “mesh” of units to the Community Internet. Should one of the Mesh Potatoes be out of action (due to power failure on one building), the remaining Mesh Potatoes will reconfigure their routing to bypass the missing node.
Each Mesh Potato, provides a traditional landline type phone connection inside the unit, as well as an Ethernet connection. In addition, the Mesh Potato creates a wifi “hotspot” inside the unit as well as to surrounding areas. It becomes possible for the whole gated community to share a wireless “cloud”, so that devices such as laptops, smartphones and iPads or tablets can access the Internet via the wifi connection anywhere in the complex.
Here is a photo of a Supernode: