Mesh Wi-Fi Quietly Advances

Carl Weinschenk

In the most common approach to Wi-Fi networking, a central node distributes signals to subsidiary access points. Less common self-configuring meshes let signals take different paths. This flexibility and reliability is attractive to first responders, the military and organizations that rely on networks that can be set up on the fly.


Earlier this month, the Army said that it will use Telos for its Combat Service Support Automated Information System Interface. The $43.5 million contract will be used to create a portable system that troops can carry with them and easily throw up and tear down. The system will work as far as 32 miles away from the base wired network. Two or more of the Taos modules can be connected in a mesh.


That wasn't the only announcement made recently in the mesh sector. Last week, Azalea Networks announced version 2.5 of is operating system. TMC Net reports that the new OS uses patent-pending technology to optimize bandwidth and enhance management functions. Azalea's CTO is quoted as saying that the system can double throughput and manage as many as 300 nodes. Separately, Venture Beat reports that Azalea, which will be used at the Beijing Olympics, raised a round of $15 million.


A third announcement came from Ruckus Wireless. The company claims, according to this ZDNet post, to have introduced the first mesh using 802.11n for small and medium-size businesses. SmartMesh is optimized for SMBs with 20 to 1,000 employees. The piece says the approach requires fewer APs to have Ethernet connections and includes an omnidirectional antenna that sends signals to the best path. The company claims that SmartMesh alleviates cost, speed and complexity obstacles to SMB use of mesh.


Finally, Strix Systems says that it is helping maintain security in Pittsburg, Calif. The platform, according to this release, was included in a citywide surveillance system by Odin Systems, which was working on behalf of the city. Strix Access/One operates in the 4.9 GHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz ranges. It was integrated into bullet-proof enclosures that also house battery backup for communications gear, cameras and infrared illuminators.

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