Author: Marc Fawzi
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has brought some interest to mesh networking.
In theory, the XO laptop has the ability to form a wireless mesh together with other XO laptops in its vicinity. Each laptop extends the mesh further, like a link in a long chain.
Such mesh technology, when supplemented by signal repeaters, can theoretically cover entire villages. Since villages, towns, cities are connected to each other via the Internet these meshes come together in one world-wide mesh.
The Web and the Internet as a result is constrained (by many economic, political and technical factors) to working within the client-server model. The inability to establish direct communication between applications on different PCs, without having to go through difficult -and sometimes- unreliable paths (think: UDP hole punching, NAT traversal, uPnP etc), combined with ISPs’ tendency to throttle and even block P2P traffic has resulted in an unhealthy environment for P2P applications.
The XO laptop maybe the first sign of a global shift from the client-server model of the Web to the peer-to-peer model of wireless mesh technology.
The current Web architecture is bound to evolve over the next few decades as the architecture of global communication moves from the network-centric model to the peer-to-peer model, enabled by wireless mesh technology.