The idea of a mesh deployment, an approach where multiple nodes of a network work together to enable better coverage and connectivity, is not new for networking.
However, for Wi-Fi networks, especially consumer access points, Wi-Fi mesh has been a new area where multiple vendors, including Google, Linksys and others, have all announced products in recent years. What has been lacking is an industry standard certification effort that can enable mesh access points (APs) from different vendors to work together in an interoperable manner. That's where the new Wi-Fi EasyMesh certification comes into play.
"Wi-Fi EasyMesh offers both service providers and Wi-Fi users a consistent approach to multiple AP solutions," Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, stated. "Wi-Fi Alliance is delivering a standardized solution to a market-leading product category, enabling a strong ecosystem for interoperable, Wi-Fi Certified devices."
The Wi-Fi Alliance explained that Wi-Fi EasyMesh is a certification program that defines multiple access point home and small office Wi-Fi networks that are easy to install and use, adapt on their own and add multi-vendor interoperability. Wi-Fi EasyMesh technology brings both consumers and service providers additional flexibility in choosing Wi-Fi EasyMesh devices for home deployment.
From at technology perspective, Wi-Fi EasyMesh uses existing 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards. The new mesh certification effort also makes use of the Wi-Fi Alliance's Multi-AP Technical Specification.
At the core of EasyMesh is a controller that is used to control the connected access point agents. The EasyMesh controller node coordinates AP activity to avoid interference and improve overall coverage.
Among the vendors that have already announced support for Wi-Fi EasyMesh is ARRIS, which was also a core contributor to the Multi-AP standard.
"ARRIS gateway and extender products will be Wi-Fi EasyMesh certified as part of our HomeAssure whole home Wi-Fi solution," Ian Wheelock, engineering fellow at ARRIS, stated. "As we usher in these new features, we’ll continue to enhance HomeAssure by integrating new Wi-Fi management logic into the next generation of our Multi-AP Wi-Fi system."
Wi-Fi silicon vendors Broadcom and Marvell are also both on board with Wi-Fi EasyMesh
"Wi-Fi EasyMesh delivers a standardized mechanism for bringing self-organizing networks consisting of multiple access points," Prabhu Loganathan, senior director of marketing, Wireless Connectivity Business Unit at Marvell, stated.
Manny Patel, senior director of marketing, Wireless Connectivity, Broadcom, commented that the availability of Wi-Fi EasyMesh certification will grow the available market for multiple AP solutions by enabling the multi-vendor interoperability.
"Broadcom has coupled its high-performance Wi-Fi silicon platforms with a Wi-Fi EasyMesh certifiable software solution to create the Broadcom SmartMesh family of products," Patel said. "With Broadcom’s SmartMesh, OEMs can accelerate their time to market for standards-compliant multiple AP products that allow service providers and consumers to deploy high-throughput Wi-Fi coverage to every corner of the home."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.