|Abstract: ||Nodes in a network having a plurality of nodes establish communication links with other nodes using available transmission media, as the ability to establish such links becomes available and desirable. The nodes predict when existing communications links will fail, become overloaded or otherwise degrade network effectiveness and act to establish substitute or additional links before the node's ability to communicate with the other nodes on the network is adversely affected. A node stores network topology information and programmed link establishment rules and criteria. The node evaluates characteristics that predict existing links with other nodes becoming unavailable or degraded. The node then determines whether it can form a communication link with a substitute node, in order to maintain connectivity with the network. When changing its communication links, a node broadcasts that information to the network. Other nodes update their stored topology information and consider the updated topology when establishing new communications links for themselves.