In telecommunications, point-to-point architecture is a communicating connection between two nodes or endpoints.
For example, it could be the communication between a radio sensor and an RF data hub where data from the module can only be heard by the hub.
This is in contrast to a point-to-multipoint or a communication emission topology, in which many nodes can receive data sent by a single node. This architecture is used for Internet or Voice over IP using radio or microwave frequencies in the gigahertz range.
Point-to-multipoint is the most popular approach to wireless communications which have a high number of nodes.
Point-to-multipoint generally assumes that there is a base station to which remote modules or sensors are connected.
Wireless network point-to-multipoint using directional antennas is impacted by the hidden node issue if they communicate using a CSMA/CA access protocol. The negative impact of the hidden node issue can be mitigated using a TDMA based protocol, rather than the CSMA/CA protocol.
Using the previous example, we are in the case where a module communicates with an RF base station. Other examples of point-to-multipoint communication systems are radio and television broadcasting.
Very popular in industry, smart metering and smart building, these point-to-point and multipoint architectures are bi-directional.
This mesh network architecture means that all the equipment (sensors, machines, hubs, etc.) are connected peer-to-peer without any central hierarchy, thereby forming a net-shaped structure.
As a result, each item of equipment receives, sends and relays data.
The advantage of this architecture is that if part of the network fails, it is not isolated because the data is sent using other nodes.
This construction makes it possible to relay data by “flooding” or using predefined paths. However, for predefined paths, the network must have uninterrupted connections or provide alternative paths.
This architecture is the result of military research and has been used by armed forces, in particular in the USA and France. It is break-away technology compared to the classic centralised wireless solutions with a base station. Mesh solutions allow for quick and simplified deployment, scalable coverage and, due to the mesh, high failure and interference tolerance, significantly reducing network installation and operating costs. These architectures reproduce the Internet architecture while optimising it for wireless use.