Intel goes for wireless mesh

ZD Net is reporting that Intel has unveiled its first proposals for 802.11s, a new mesh wireless networking standard.

Although mesh networks are already in use for very large deployments in cities such as Taipei, and in some industry sectors, none of the systems interoperate or are suitable for domestic or office environments, [Steve] Conner [Intel’s wireless guru] claimed. The 802.11s group, which met for the first time in July 2004, has just issued its first call for proposals, and Intel is keen for the new standard to cover domestic and small business environments.

Intel’s proposals build on top of existing standards, such as 802.11a/b/g wireless transmission protocols and 802.11i security, and is compatible with them. It adds extra functions to allow wireless nodes to discover each other, authenticate and establish connections, and to work out the most efficient route for a particular task. This includes the concept of quality of service, so a broadband video stream might take a different route across a home environment than a Web connection, to achieve higher bandwidth. This level of self-configuration and environmental awareness not only creates efficient wireless networks, Conner said, but automates the entire process of installation and reconfiguration.