Sorry to hear you won’t be able to teach the new class with Mesh, hopefully you’ll be able to by the time next semester comes around.
Wanted to chime in on some points, to give my $0.02.
I don’t think it’s a lack of interest, but rather one of priorities. I can understand they choose to make their own setup work well before they attempt to work on compatibility with other systems. At the moment there are a lot of basic functionalities that could be added that would serve more people better than compatibility with non-widespread OpenThread. You’re the only one I know of that makes it a priority to get that working whereas there are a bunch more people in dire need of sleep modes and Bluetooth for example. I’m not saying OpenThread compatibility is a bad thing, but there’s only so much that can be done at once.
I know pricing is a hot topic, but I haven’t been able to find where you got the $200/month/15 Argon from, would you mind pointing me towards those resources?
Most of the ‘special’ s pricing schemes fall under a “contact us” option, where possibilities can be discussed with Particle directly. Furthermore there’s the Particle for Good program to which you can apply: https://www.particle.io/for-good/
That might be part of where the misunderstandings stem from. To summarize in simple terms:“If you’re willing to set up your own server to handle this, then why haven’t you already?”. Part of the reason why not will most likely lie in the complexity of researching, designing, building, maintaining, upgrading, hosting, and securing of a setup like that. And that’s just the cloud side of things.
As you’ve noticed, setting up an OpenThread network in and of itself isn’t a walk in the park either. Hauling three laptops, a variety of dongles, programmers and whatnot around doesn’t sound all too easy, especially is you want to use that as a teaching tool.
That’s also where Particle’s value comes in: they make it easy to do. You can program a OpenThread Meshed endnode from anywhere in the world from your browser. I don’t see that happening so easily with a DIY setup. Not saying it can’t be done, but if you take into account the time/effort required, you’ll soon soar over that budget. I’m not sure how much you evaluate your time to be worth, but “an intensive month” worth of time, along with the required hardware and other resources needed will soon approximate what it would’ve costed to go with Particle entirely.
No criticism in general, just trying to put into perspective what it is Particle offers. That the prices are up for debate is fair enough as well, as they’ve changed in the past too, after review.
Though the above doesn’t offer a resolution of any kind, I do hope it makes you consider their point of view as well (at least, that’s my take on their point of view). In the end, Particle has to charge for their services if they are to make a living wage and want to be able to keep growing improving.
Like I mentioned above, hopefully the circumstances have improved by the time next semester comes around and you’ll be able to make full use of Mesh in your curriculum.