This has been tossed around my office as a cost-effective wifi option. I searched the forums here and haven't seen anything discussed....so, discuss? :)
If you are looking for a solution like that... also look up MikroTik.
Solutions like this are like a helmet that is 2 sizes too small. They'll probably work but it will be painful the entire time.
The key thing with mesh generally is that for every hop yoou lose bandwith as the backhaul is shared. There are other challenges but it depends on what your WLAN will do.
The fact that it has been "tossed around my office as a cost-effective wifi option" might indicate wether you are serious about a wireless solution or not. Its all very well looking at cost as we all have to but as it will be a key part of your infrastructure its worth doing it right otherwise you will be ripping it out in 12 months and paying more for the right solution.
Unfortunately there are alot of snake oil salesmen still in the wireless industry and they will no doubt be hear for a long time until the technology properly matures.
As GTHill says it may be a painful and ultimately costly exercise to go with a low cost solution that may not meet your needs both now and in the future
"Like a helmet two sizes too small ..."
If this is a serious deployment then you have to look at the major players. I evaluated a bunch of mesh options for a customer for an outdoor mesh and very quickly dropped cheap meshing from the mix. We looked seriously at Aerohive and Ruckus as prime contenders as they seemed to have meshing down to a fine art.
When I say "tossed around" I mean by the folks who handle the budget. I'm well aware that you get what you pay for but it's sad to say this is what it's come down to. Price is ruling over clearer heads I'm afraid.
We don't even use mesh. All of our wireless is indoors, and cabled. A limit of 2 SSIDs....we already use 3.
It's frustrating when management expect a certain level of performance, but aren't willing to invest in doing it right.
Rob I fully respect where you are coming from we all have Layer 8 issues and I am afreaid there are no easy answers to this unless of course you can demonstrate that company a is better than company b. I t also has to align with their expectations where if it was a little casual wireless then ok many manufacturers can do this however when you start getting down to enterprise class and maybe looking at specific features, performance an business criticality you relly need to sort the wheat from the chaff.
I have seen customers postpone their WLAN deployments when they realise the true cost of a properly secured solution so that they can budget it as a formal project next financial year rather than tackle it as an ad hoc project as they have a little money left over or they think wireless if funky aand a nice to have.
From a security perspective aswell wireless is something that you need a serious committment to as the cost of a breach will far outweigh any costs of getting it right first time.
Sometimes its easier to make sure your "off that week" soi you are not involved. Its a difficult position to be in my freind!