Beware of pre-standard equipment or hardware with proprietary features

A statement like this is bound to evoke howls of protest from some telecom equipment manufacturers, who will tell you SIP is a standard that lets IP telephony gear work together, while vendors are hard at work finalizing the wireless mesh and WiMAX standards.
A wireless mesh standard would let smart access points from various manufacturers route information among themselves (instead of relying on cabling as a backhaul), while WiMAX will serve as a fixed wireless standard.But vendors are working on “pre-standard” equipment, and regardless of what they call it and how good it is, no one can make products that adhere to a standard before the standard exists.
Nortel Networks is now selling mesh networks to the public sector. As a member of the Wireless Mesh Alliance, Nortel is advocating a standard, but its director of strategic standards, Bilel Jamoussi, says vendors can add “enhancements on top of the standard.”
This sounds similar to a comment made by Alex Hadden-Boyd, Cisco Systems Inc.’s director for IP communications product and technology marketing, at the manufacturer’s Partner Conference last April in Vancouver.
When asked about Cisco’s support for SIP, Hadden-Boyd said, “We absolutely are supporting the standard, and we also will add additional capabilities as Cisco traditionally does.”
Nortel could take a similar approach to wireless mesh, giving additional management or routing capabilities to its access points.
SR Telecom of Montreal is selling fixed wireless base stations that it says can be upgraded to meet the WiMAX standard, but carriers would have to add hardware — a process similar to overlaying a GSM network with GPRS.
Working on wireless protocols is good for users — and the industry as a whole — but network managers need to remember that a product that meets an industry standard might still be designed to work best with other products from the same manufacturer.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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