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Nortel Meshes on Home Turf

Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) is bringing home the Canadian bacon with new metro-mesh WiFi networking deals in the Great White North.

The networking vendor announced a deal today with service provider SimplySurf Wireless Network to provide wireless broadband via a mesh network to the rural residents of Dunrobin, Ontario. The firm plans to add other networks in and around Ottawa over time.

Also, on Wednesday Nortel will unveil another rural mesh network in the township of Chapleau, Ontario, as part of Project Chapleau, an initiative to research the effects of advanced technology on rural communities. These aren't big deployments: Mark Whitton, Nortel's VP and GM of WiMax and wireless mesh networks, says the Dunrobin deployment uses fewer than 20 access points. But setting up networks in rural areas is one part of Nortel's four-pronged mesh strategy, according to Whitton. He says the company is also targeting citywide wireless deployments, campuses, and the "homeland security" market with its indoor and outdoor mesh nodes and wireless bridge equipment.

And Whitton says Nortel's mesh network in Taipei, Taiwan, will be the biggest metropolitan public access network ever built, with 10,000 access points offering WiFi to 3 million citizens.

All in all, November is going to be a big month on the vendor front for mesh networking. Several startups are plotting announcements, and -- as Unstrung recently exclusively revealed -- is going to announce its first mesh products. (See Cisco Plots Mesh.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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