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 infrastructure, networking experts have predicted.
According to a newly published study from ABI Research, the increase in demand for mesh networking will mostly come from deployments 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 study examined 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," said Sam Lucero, senior analyst for wireless connectivity at ABI Research.
He added that mesh technology is an interesting market, particularly for alternative service providers and ISPs that do not have their own facilities at present.
"It is an essential means for them to remain viable in the provision of services," said Lucero.
"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 report stated.
"Cisco's introduction of a wireless mesh networking product family represents further validation for an already fast growing metro-scale wireless mesh networking market," said Lucero.
"In addition, with the company's significant customer base for enterprise wireless Lan equipment, and its emphasis on centralised control of unified indoor wireless Lan/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."
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