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Routing is the main research issue in the development of wireless mesh networks (WMNs). Many of the routing approaches have been borrowed from mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) to achieve routing solutions in WMNs but are not ideal or optimal and do not utilize the characteristics of WMNs to their benefits. In this paper, we propose an improved hierarchical AODV routing protocol (IH-AODV), which exhibits better scalability and performance in the network and incurs less routing overhead for finding alternate routes when a route is lost. Furthermore, we present a novel technique for IH-AODV term fresh route detection. We provide comparisons of both AODV and IH-AODV in our simulation using NS-2. Simulation results show that IH-AODV scales well for large network and other metrics are also better than or comparable to AODV in hybrid WMNs.