- Mesh-Networking for a Better User Experience -

You see mesh-networking implemented in many of the top apps these days, for example Snapchat uses mesh-networking to help you to find and add people nearby. But why is this not a standard practice? And why not for more types of data? To me it seems like it will be soon, but for now it requires significant developer time to implement and debug, so is it worth it?

You’ll see in Snapchat that you need to have a screen dedicated to finding people open in order for it work. On the other hand Airdrop seems to have become the new standard for sharing images or files between devices and you only need to have yourself set to visible. You even see apps at the other extreme, with the entire functionality based on it’s use, with apps like Firechat for offline messaging and games like Spaceteam.

This isn’t by accident. Mesh-networking provides a significantly better experience for local data transfer than email or text messages which just clutter your feed and store the new data away from where you will want to access it. On the other hand automatic implementations of mesh-networking can be problematic because it makes a user’s presence available to anyone with an active connection in the area and can introduce security concerns if too much data is made available for free.

Using mesh-networking to be able to add contacts, find local users, facilitate offline inter-device communication, and lightening networking load are all great examples of ways that you can improve your user experience and simplify the function of your app.

So hopefully by now I’ve convinced you mesh-networking is the future, or at least to consider trying it out in one of your own apps!If you are looking for a library to get you started and let you leverage some of the advantages of adding mesh-networking to your app you can check out my open source library on Cocoapods called PeerConnectivity (the plug). Any suggestions or thoughts are greatly appreciated!