Wifi meshing catches on

Wifi meshing is becoming increasingly common in several markets and shipments of wifi mesh access points (AP) are expected to double over the next four years.

Industry analyst In-Stat forecasts that more than 50,000 wifi mesh AP unit shipments are expected in 2006, with almost 100,000 unit shipments expected in 2010.

Wifi meshing allows wireless access nodes to achieve a longer range by using each node as a repeater.

Incompatibility among systems, however, is a potential hurdle for the growth of the technology, In-Stat notes.

“There is no industry standard for mesh networking, yet, so interoperability between mesh vendors continues to be problematic; customers must purchase their wfi mesh networking gear from one vendor,” said Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst. “However, wifi clients are standardised and prolific, providing a ready and waiting installed base for wifi mesh networks.”

Tropos is estimated to have the largest mindshare in municipal mesh networking but Nortel, Strix, BelAir and SkyPilot made aggressive pushes into the market in 2006, the analyst notes.

Cisco is perceived as a wildcard in this market, as it launched wifi mesh APs in late 2005 and is using its strong IT channels into businesses and government networks.

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