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Wi-Fi Mesh Access Point Incompatibility Issue

Wi-Fi meshing, which allows wireless access nodes to achieve a longer range by using each other as repeaters, is becoming increasingly common in several markets, reports In-Stat.

More than 50,000 Wi-Fi mesh access point (AP) unit shipments were reported in 2006, with almost 100,000 unit shipments expected in 2010, the high-tech market research firm says.

Incompatibility among systems, however, is a potential hurdle for the growth of the technology.
"There is no industry standard for mesh networking, yet, so interoperability between mesh vendors continues to be problematic -- customers must purchase their Wi-Fi mesh networking gear from one vendor," says Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst.

"However, Wi-Fi clients are standardized and prolific, providing a ready and waiting installed
base for Wi-Fi mesh networks." Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

- Although Tropos has the largest mind-share in municipal mesh networking, Nortel, Strix, BelAir, and SkyPilot made aggressive pushes into the market in 2006.

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

- Throughout 2006, most Wi-Fi mesh vendors tied their growth to municipal network build-outs, which have been few and far between.

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