Whats really going on

By Guy Kewney  |  Posted 2003-12-15 Print this article Print

here"> Heres a little clue to what might really be going on. LocustWorld is, effectively, the de facto standard. A new Locustworld mesh goes live every day, and people offer reliable, commercial broadband using this technology - which can be downloaded onto a CD, and used on any PC which will boot from the optical drive.
Its the product of one bright programmer, Jon Anderson, winner of a recent award for innovation There are other small Mesh startups, too. For example, that story, quoted above, mentioned FireTide, as having an important input which the IEEE should listen to. FireTide, unlike LocustWorld, has yet to ship a single product.
Intel, of course, announced its own "breakthrough" in Mesh topologies and configuration back in March at the IDF and when I spoke to them about it, it was clear that they hadnt heard about Locustworld. Strangely, this week, when Jon Anderson contacted Intels Mesh people directly, they still "hadnt heard" about his technology. That must have taken quite some effort on their part, because it is being adopted by Governments, TV stations, rural communities, commercial Wireless ISPs and large end-user corporations - and Ive even been approached by a military source anxious to evaluate it. It not only produces stable, self-configuring wireless networks that happily tolerate new nodes switching on, and old nodes switching off but also, it has its own, sophisticated Assigned Numbers Authority to handle IP addressing. Of course, the IEEE has many engineers seconded to it from both Cisco and Intel; and they will, Im sure, help the working group produce a standard, by contributing both personnel, and other resources. One thing you can be sure of, and thats the fact that whatever they come up with, it wont allow Bluetooth Mesh networks to interwork with cellular, or cellular with 802.11a or Wi-Fi with WiMAX. And how much would you like to bet that the open, de facto Linux based Locustworld standard will turn out, for some reason, not to be suitable, and that something out of Santa Clara which lots of intellectual property from Intel and Cisco, turns out to be the superior technology? Like LEAP and CCX, for example? Well start to see what the bona fides of this "standards movement" are in January. Ill try to suspend cynicism till then.


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