Wireless mesh networks differ from familiar star topology networks like Wi-Fi. In a mesh network, data packets can “hop” from one connected device to another until they reach their destination. Devices placed far apart can communicate as long as the devices between can connect. Also, a good mesh protocol will optimize the route. There are several competing mesh networking protocols. All are incompatible, although they rely on similar underlying principles. Zigbee, xBee, and LoRa are three such examples. They all operate in the same 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) band but use different mesh protocols so they don’t interoperate.