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Meshing Getting Notice

Tue, 02/27/2007 - 2:53pm
Brad Smith

Mesh networking, essentially an evolution of Wi-Fi technology, continues to build steam in the market as well as the labs. The technology has come far enough that the IEEE is working on a standard that could be approved early next year. The standard, still in a working group, falls under the IEEE 802.11s umbrella.

Several companies, including Motorola’s Mesh Networking Group, are developing products they hope will line up with the standard. Other mesh networking notables include Tropos Networks, Nortel Networks, Strix Systems, Sky Pilot and PacketHop.

Meanwhile, the mesh networking solutions that are out in the market already are being deployed in places like Medford, Ore.; Rockford, Ill., Anaheim, Calif., Milwaukee, Wis., and Red River, N.M. Mesh networks could become part of municipal Wi-Fi networks deployed in places like Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Companies like Tropos continue to push the technology along without a standard. Tropos this week announced its new family of MetroMesh routers, which allow for multiple radios for different bands. The first of the MetroMesh multiband routers is the Tropos 5320 for license-free 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum.

Tropos says the new routers can select not only the highest throughput available, but also the best frequency for the application that is being used. The company likens the new routers to wireline routers which can accommodate multiple Ethernet, Token Ring, wide area networking and other interfaces. The MetroMesh routers, the company says, will dynamically identify the mesh links that form the highest performing end-to-end data path, whatever the frequency.

Beyond the first router, which is expected to ship in October, Tropos also is looking at routers using MIMO, 4.9 GHz, WiMAX, cellular 3G technologies and other spectrum.

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