Scientific American Magazine featured goTenna Chief Scientist Ram Ramanathan in an article that explores the challenges of creating connectivity on a global scale. The article discusses percolation theory, including its relevance to mesh networks.
See the excerpt below:
For designers of mesh-networking apps, finding the percolation threshold is a practical engineering problem. Changing the device's power, which controls the range, is one way to turn a dial. The central question, says Ram Ramanathan, chief scientist for the mesh-networking company goTenna, is, “What do you want the transmit power to be to have a connected network?” The answer would be fairly simple if power and connectivity had a linear relation—if each small increase in power led to a proportional small increase in connectivity. But the existence of a percolation threshold means there is a risk that the network will suddenly lose connectivity as people move around. The optimal power is one that ensures the network is always connected but does not waste energy.
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