It's been a bitter fight to say the least when it comes to setting standards for 802.11-based technologies. Faced with the same deadlocked issues we saw for some time in the 802.11n and ultrawideband standards-setting process, the group in charge of setting a standard for WLAN mesh networking has now united two groups that had rival proposals. While we're seeing a number of mesh network deployments, we haven't seen an official standard for how these WiFi meshes should be built, which has tied customers into a proprietary technology.
The IEEE's Mesh Networking Task Group was set up last July and initially received 15 different proposals that were eventually whittled down to two. On one side was the WiMesh Alliance (WiMA), created by Nortel and with other members that included Philips, Extreme, NextHop, Swisscom, Thomson and Accton, and on the other SEEMesh, with backers including Intel, Nokia, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo and Texas Instruments. Many believe the emergence of WiMax moved these players to seek a resolution. It will be interesting to see what sort of complementary and competitive role mesh WiFi and WiMax will play with each other. Of course, most vendors are playing in both.
For more information about the wireless mesh standards-making process:
- read this article from Computer Business Review Online