1

nmcli proposes a connection type olpc-mesh.

How does it differ from ad hoc networking and in which situation is this connection type used?

From man nmcli:

type olpc-mesh ssid SSID [channel 1-13] [dhcp-anycast MAC]

               ssid
                   SSID.

               channel
                   channel to use for the network.

               dhcp-anycast
                   anycast DHCP MAC address used when requesting an IP address via DHCP.
2

olpc-mesh is a wireless mesh network developed by the MIT for the One Laptop per Child project. Citing Wikipedia:

An MIT Media Lab project has developed the [OLPC which] uses mesh networking (based on the IEEE 802.11s standard) to create a robust and inexpensive infrastructure. The instantaneous connections made by the laptops are claimed by the project to reduce the need for an external infrastructure such as the Internet to reach all areas, because a connected node could share the connection with nodes nearby.

As to why this connection type is used, refer to the same Wikipedia page or to this one

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