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Arris made the first product to support the open Wi-Fi mesh networking standard

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The standard was set earlier this year

Image: Arris

Earlier this year, an industry organization which oversees Wi-Fi standards known as The Wi-Fi Alliance, introduced a new standard called EasyMesh, which will set a common standard for mesh routers to work with ones manufactured by other mesh routers from other companies. Now, the first such device that will adhere to the standard has been announced.

Last week, router manufacturer Arris announced that it would release the first EasyMesh-certified router, the VAP4641 Wireless Extender. The extender uses 802.11ac wave 2 technology, and will pair with other certified devices — once they become more widely available. Arris doesn’t say when the device will be available for purchase.

Up until this point, consumers were essentially locked into buying routers from a single brand. Mesh routers — devices which allow you to integrate more than one router into a single, larger network for your home or office — would only work with ones from like-minded companies. If you had to switch one out, you had to stay within that closed ecosystem. With this new standard, users can mix and match mesh routers to extend the WiFi in their homes or offices — provided they support EasyMesh.

That might be a bit of an uphill battle: the designation isn’t mandatory. But having at least one company releasing products adhering to the standard is a crucial first step towards wider adoption.