You probably have heard about repeaters but may have questions about their role in an industrial wireless network: How does a repeater work in a wireless application and what impact does it have on my network?  Can repeaters be used in a Mesh network and how are they controlled?

Repeaters have been used in radio communication almost since the inception of the first radio broadcast.  A repeater is a specific piece of radio hardware that receives information (voice or data) and then transmits this information again so that more distant locations can “hear” the original message.  Repeaters are a key feature to greatly extend the range of a wireless network.

Critical Difference

In many wireless networks, the repeater is a separate hardware device used for that specific purpose.  But ESTeem radios have always had the feature of using any remote radio as a repeater while simultaneously providing communication to the connected device. 

This feature allows the implementation of very complex wireless networks at no additional cost.  Since this is a software feature in all our radios, no additional hardware is required, and any radio can be used not only as a repeater but also as a base, remote or mobile unit.

Creating a Mesh Network

Having multiple pathways (such has using multiple repeater sites) to a destination creates a Mesh network.  We’ve written about MESH networks elsewhere at length, but repeating information through multiple pathways allows the Mesh networking feature to function.

It’s important to remember when using a repeater that the end-to-end throughput will be reduced.  This is due to the time it takes to receive the information at the repeater site and then re-transmit the information into the air. 

The amount of throughput reduction depends on the number of repeater hops to the destination.  For example, if a single repeater site is used on a 300Mbps RF link, the end-to-end throughput would be reduced by half to 150Mbps.  If two repeaters are used on the same 300 Mbps link, the end-to-end throughput is reduced by the number of hops (three in this case – Base to Repeater 1, Repeater 1 to Repeater 2 and then Repeater 2 to Remote) to a final end-to-end throughput of 100 Mbps.

Because they also serve as repeaters, ESTeem’s industrial radios can provide a critical advantage for your industrial wireless network. Contact us today to learn more.