Cisco is trying to carve out a piece of the growing wireless municipal broadband market by launching a new range of wireless “mesh” network products.
Large US cities including Philadelphia and San Francisco, together with smaller towns, are rolling out municipality-wide outdoor wireless networks to allow citizens to enjoy easy and cheap internet access.
Similar deployments are being announced in Europe, with Macedonia recently announcing a country-wide wireless mesh network in partnership with US-based Strix Systems.
Mesh networking features wireless access devices fixed to strategic points in an area and allows them to communicate with each other to find the best route for data traffic.
Because the devices can automatically communicate with a number of others over large areas, the system is ideal for providing data communications over large rural or urban areas.
Cisco has gone into partnership with Hewlett-Packard and IBM to push its wireless mesh networking strategy, with HP and IBM weighing in with their network management and back-end software and hardware.
Cisco has introduced the Cisco Aironet 1500 Series range of access points to drive its move into the market, as well as a new range of wireless Lan controllers.
Cisco is already a leading player in the indoor Wi-Fi market.