The number of mesh networks used for large-scale wireless deployments such as city-wide networks, could increase by a factor of 10 in the next five years, according to a study release Wednesday by ABI Research.
Most of the increase will come from city-wide wireless network deployments, although there will also be some corporate and university deployments covering large campus areas, the study said. However, few of the deployments will come from existing large incumbent service providers, according to ABI.
"I think that the growth rate will be dramatic," Sam Lucero, ABI's senior analyst of wireless connectivity, said in a statement. "It's an interesting market that has a lot of potential for alternative service providers such as Earthlink - ISPs who don't have their own facilities at present."
Already a large nationwide ISP in the U.S., EarthLink is pushing into the municipal wireless network business. It recently was awarded the contract to deploy Philadelphia's much-discussed city-wide network.
Lucero said that the fact that Cisco is jumping into the mesh equipment business will further support growth of the technology. Cisco's involvement also will enable mesh networks to be used in venues other than city-wide deployments, he added.