ESP Mesh Development Framework Released

Shanghai, China
May 4, 2018

Espressif’s Mesh Development Framework, ESP-MDF has just been released, supporting mesh applications for ESP32.

Since the official release of the ESP8266-based mesh network in July 2015, we have received many comments from our customers and supporters asking us to provide the same functionality for ESP32. This request has now been addressed with ESP-MDF, Espressif’s Mesh Development Framework. 

What we aim to do with ESP-MDF is tackle the growing demand for smart-connected devices implementing IoT applications. Using a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint star topology is not an option anymore. Such a traditional traditional setting for wireless networking entails a limited network capacity and Wi-Fi coverage, which is not appropriate for large venues or multiple floors in big buildings.

Contrary to this, in a mesh network, nodes can get self-organized  by dynamically communicating with each other. Any node in the network is able to transmit data to any other node within range, which can then forward packets through the network to their final destination. If certain nodes are removed from the network for whatever reason, the network should be able to “heal” itself by creating a new connection between different nodes which would effectively circumvent the damage.

Alasdair Allan, a renowned scientist, author, hacker and maker, has said about ESP-MDF: “the arrival of official support for mesh networking on the ESP32 is something of a milestone for making the chip a more viable alternative for building mass market Internet-of-Things smart devices. While the ESP8266 lacks many of the necessary security features needed for ‘production’ devices, the newer ESP32 chip supports needed security features, like secure boot and flash encryption. But difficulty in getting mesh-networking working has been a sticking point with the newer chip, something the arrival of ESP-MDF now solves.”

Indeed, our ESP-MESH has been designed to improve the user experience of  ESP32's network topology by featuring:

  • Increased reliability: the structure is robust, because even if certain nodes fail, other nodes in the network will get dynamically self-organized, thus overcoming the damage.
  • Extensive coverage: any two mesh nodes can communicate with each other, which is suitable for networking demands in large venues and places with multiple layers.
  • Great network capacity: over 1000 devices can be connected to each other and form a wireless network