How do multiple mesh networks interact (if at all)?

I’m trying to clarify my understanding of how the Meshtastic network architecture works, so am I correct in thinking that each private mesh network is built on top of a Lora mesh? If this is the case, would nodes in proximity to each other support/route other mesh traffic?

For example, if I have 10 nodes in a locality, with 5 running their own Meshtastic private network, Network1, and the other 5 running a similar network, Network2. I would presume only members of each network can see each other, but would Network1 be able to use Network2 nodes as carriers that bridge any gaps and extend the range?

@geeksville do have the best knowledge about the current sitatus.

If I remember correctly, only the payloads of the messages are encrypted. The header information, needed for mesh routing, is not. Therefore, it would be possible to route other channels mesh packets (if they are tuned on the same frequency).

According to my understanding, this is not implemented yet: Public Emergency 'Chat Room' not encrypted?

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I hope it will work like that and allow any other “meshtastic networks” to join and expand the overall network.

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There are some constraints, regarding both expanding the number of nodes on the same mesh, and in linking messages from nodes on different mesh networks (for example through internet).

The main two constraints, in this case, would be airtime consumption on same MHz band (a typical RF related problem), and limitations on node name space (a typical problem for the efficiency of network protocols).

@geeksville did do the math, and came to an estimation: about 30 nodes would be the maximum number of nodes on one mesh (still having enough of airtime for the nodes).

Name space related limitations are, in overall, not easy to solve, as IPv4 and IPv6 has shown. However, there are ways to solve this kind of limitations. For now, I would say, we should count with a theoretical maximum, of about 250 nodes messaging with each other.

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