Mesh networking has become increasingly popular as people try to improve wireless coverage at their homes and offices. But it's been challenging to deploy as you've needed to choose a brand a stick to it as gear from different vendors didn't work together. But that's set to change as the WiFi Alliance establishes a new, software-based standard that will enable cross-manufacturer interoperability.
The new standard, called EasyMesh, will let you change or add components to your mesh network without having to commit to a single vendor. That means if a different vendor offers new security features or some other functional benefit, you can replace the router without having to splurge on a bunch of new nodes.
You know how when you sit on your couch, the Wi-Fi on your laptop cuts out? Or when you're in the bathroom your phone refuses to connect? From Google to Netgear, everyone's rolling out expensive "Mesh Network" kits that promise to fix Wi-Fi dead zones in offices and homes. But only some people should shell out the $500+ for one.
EasyMesh compatible gear will have a logo on it so you'll know whether it's compatible at the time of purchase. As it's a software standard, EasyMesh can be added to many existing devices through a firmware upgrade. Whether manufacturers do that is another question as many will see staying proprietary as a way of protecting their own brand.
But given the WiFi Alliance is made up of major network hardware manufacturers it's possible they'll play nicely and deeply it to new and existing gear.
There's no firm date for EasyMesh's release yet but given the WiFi Alliance is talking about it we can expect it reasonably soon.