How Should I Start Developing My Mesh Network Project?

Hello, everyone!

Recently, I've been struggling to deploy a project I'm working on and I thought it would be really nice to hear your perspective about the project and how you guys would start deploying it, which technologies would you consider using and why.

So, the project I'm working on is all about getting information from signals that comes from machines (temperature, number of parts produced at a given time, how much time they kept on/off, things of that nature). These machines are intertwined in a way that some of them depends on the other because parts produced in one of them goes to other ones and this logic happens in a bunch of them. But my goal is to have an interface where I could request those information and have them appearing on my monitor as well as some statistics in form of graphics, forecasts, etc. But the rub is that some machines, the main ones, keep turned on all the time, but the ones which depends on the chief one do not (The reason is logistics, they are relocated and have its start staggered over time). Bearing in mind this statements I thought I could set up a mesh network to the project, mainly because of the dependence the machines have with each other likewise the way they are managed.

As I don't have much knowledge about it I thought it would be interesting to have your opinion about it and how I should do that. As a matter of fact, I've tried some things with ZigBee Technologies and I didn't fare well. At my disposal I have two Arduino Due R3, two Xbee PRO Shield for the board mentioned as well as some Xbee S2C modules. I also have available a XBee Gateway from DIGI as I thought it would be useful for the interface.

My first goal was to simulate what I'll have to do with those items I have at my disposal. But, what do you guys think about it?. Will I need other things to simulate this project functioning? I've set up the Xbee Gateway as a coordinator, one of the modules as a Router and other module as End-device. But I tried some coding to make them comunicate with each other and fared badly while trying to do that. The majority of tutorials on internet I have found present a module configured as a coordinator which talks to another ZigBee module configured as a Router or an End-Device. But, In my case the only device I configured as a coordinator is the Xbee Gateway. Do I need to have a very xbee module as a coordinator to make the mesh network works properly?

I have set them up all in API mode using the XTCU application but do you guys this is the best setup for this project I'm working on?

If you guys could give me any hints, warnings and the best links to deploy the knowledge I need to get this project working I'll be really thankful.

I really appreciate your effort to read this. In advance, I'm sorry for any misunderstandings I can have caused.

Thank you very much!

investigate LoRa mesh networks

You have not told us the distance between the wireless devices?

Things would be much simpler if the "slaves" are all close enough to communicate directly with a "master"


Sorry for being gullible.

As I mentioned, the machines are relocated constantly, so it's hard to tell you a real number but it's something around 5 to 30 meters max. I've seen something about LoRa regarding smart cities.

If you guys could put me in the right way I really appreciate that. Thank you very much!

Sorry for being gullible.

I'm pretty sure "gullible" is the wrong word - consult your dictionary :slight_smile:

As I mentioned, the machines are relocated constantly, so it's hard to tell you a real number but it's something around 5 to 30 meters max. I've seen something about LoRa regarding smart cities!

Most wireless systems should work over 30 metres unless there are major obstacles. I doubt is LoRa is needed.

If there are few obstacles then the cheap and effective nRF24L01+ 2.4GHz transceivers should be capable of doing the job.

The lower frequency HC12 modules would probably deal better with obstacles.

Have a look at this Simple nRF24L01+ Tutorial.

It includes an example for a master and 2 slaves that can easily be extended to a larger number of slaves.


I'm pretty sure "gullible" is the wrong word - consult your dictionary :slight_smile:

Sorry about that. I mean, for haven't warned the distance priorly. (What would be the adjective for this kind of action? As a non-native english speaker I always try my best to improve, but sometimes I make some mistakes)

Have a look at this Simple nRF24L01+ Tutorial.

Regarding the tutorial I'm getting educated about it . But do you think it would be easier to set up a functional project with it when compared to ZigBee? What I've been seeking is a network which the information required would find a way to the manager even if the "usual" path is not achievable, take for instance when some machines are turned off.

Referring to Reply #5

"Gullible" means easily believing things that may not be true.

From a language point of view I think all you needed to say was "Sorry for not giving all the details" or "Sorry for the confusion"

I have no experience with ZigBee devices - they seem very expensive.

For the short distance you mention I don't think there should be any need to relay messages from C to B to A. A should be able to talk directly to B and C.

My suggestion is to have A (the Master) poll each of the slaves in turn. If the slave is asleep, or turned off, or broken it just won't respond and that could be recorded, or a notification sent to someone to investigate.