The 802.11s standard for mesh networking coalesced last week: Two leading groups with separate proposals, instead of slugging it out for a year or two, asked for and were given permission to attempt to merge into a joint proposal in January. At last week's IEEE meeting, the joint proposal was unanimously confirmed as the basis on which to proceed.
What this means is that within a year, there could be a unified standard that mesh devices could conform to for interoperability. I wrote in the Economist this week about one risk to municipal networks' early adoption was that at least four major metro-scale mesh equipment vendors are still categorized as startups. A shutdown or change in direction could leave superannuated equipment scattered like Metricom's or Vivato's.
A standard at least moves towards the potential of a trade group emerging that could set profiles--a la WiMax Forum--for kinds of mesh behavior. There could be single radio, switched multiple radio, contention-free sectorized mesh, and other profiles probably designed by frequency (2.4 GHz, 4.9 GHz, and 5 GHz); it's unlikely there would be a one-size-fits-all. Standards open industries to additional competition, but they can also soothe worried purchasers.
Still not convinced of the value of a Standard other than to help late comers like Cisco and Nortel get their foot in the door and freezing selection processes.
Again, the single biggest piece (number and costs) of any WiFi Mesh is the CPE which is already in place. The remaining piece is the Mesh Nodes and their unique design (More than 2 Radios required) and routing approach. No real reason here for any standard since we do not expect more than one Mesh provider per metro area. Even if more than one was deployed the end users still could work across both systems with their standards based CPE.
If they are going to focus on Security, implimenting LWAPP and Interference reduction that is fine, but I smell ulterior motives here and do not trust these big boys.