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Wireless mesh networking looks set to achieve a stellar growth rate by the end of the decade, but most of the growth will be in market segments not served by existing infrastructures. According to a new study from ABI Research, the increase will mostly come from deployment by alternative service providers and municipalities, rather than incumbent service providers. There will also be some “campus” style deployments in academic, corporate and resort environments, as well as temporary rollouts at conferences or fairs. The new study, “Wireless Mesh Networking: Technology and Deployment Strategies for Metropolitan and Campus Networks,” examines the trends for both metro-scale and campus-scale wireless mesh networking technology on a worldwide basis. “I think that the growth rate will be dramatic,” says Sam Lucero, senior analyst of wireless connectivity. “It is an interesting market that has a lot of potential for alternative service providers such as Earthlink — ISPs who do not have their own facilities at present. It is an essential means for them to remain viable in the provision of services. Wireless mesh networking allows them a relatively cost-effective way to deploy their own facilities within targeted areas. But they are not positioning this as directly competitive to triple-play services.” Incumbents — both cable operators and telcos —– have not significantly embraced the mesh concept, but it is noteworthy that several of them have invested in mesh networking companies. The announcement by Cisco Systems of new wireless mesh solutions also supports ABI Research’s optimistic view of this market. Lucero comments, “Cisco’s introduction of a wireless mesh networking product family represents further validation for an already fast-growing metro-scale wireless mesh networking market. In addition, with the company’s significant customer base for enterprise WLAN equipment and its emphasis on centralized control of unified indoor WLAN/outdoor wireless mesh networks, Cisco may be able to jumpstart the campus-scale wireless mesh networking market in a way that its competitors have largely been unable to do to date.”
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