US-based equipment manufacturer DeFacto Wireless has developed a mesh networking computer for outdoor use.
Called the iMesh, the device costs £350 and is designed to run the LocustWorld MeshAP software which dynamically configures multiple wireless access points into a wireless network, or mesh, running at 2.4GHz.
Industry giants including Intel are investing heavily in mesh networking, but LocustWorld -- a British two-person operation -- appears to be leading the game. Meshes running its software are already being deployed worldwide.
Richard Lander, director and co-founder of LocustWorld, believes the iMesh will help broadband pioneers to build their own mesh networks.
"It works outside; it's much smaller than previous mesh boxes; it uses much less power; there are no annoying cables; it uses power-over-Ethernet; and it's shiny," he said.
Each node in a Locustworld Mesh consists of an access point and a mesh box, which is a PC running the MeshAP software.
It's important to keep the access point and the mesh box close together in order to avoid signal loss, so in the past people have resorted to putting mesh boxes outside with their own power supply, and coverings to keep it dry, said Lander. By using power-over-Ethernet, DeFacto has got around the issue of the separate power supply.
Three hundred iMeshs have already been shipped in the US, and LocustWorld says the market is looking very healthy.
"There are more and more firms making mesh-compatible kit that all interoperates," said Lander.
Pictures of the iMesh can be seen here.