I would perhaps be good to split this off into a separate thread… I’ve been thinking about this issue as well 'cause I want more flexibility than Particle is interested in offering and I don’t care for their cloud service.
Aside from ranting my plan is to hack the firmware so I can set-up an argon or boron as if it were a xenon, while retaining some internet-facing (wifi/cell) code, so it can make outbound connections. Then a mesh would have a primary gateway which the Particle cloud would see and it would have some number of “secondary gateways” that happen to have Mesh and internet connectivity. I would then do internet communication by running a gatewaying app on the primary and secondary gateways. I’m mostly interested in MQTT, so I would most likely gateway the Mesh pub/sub with MQTT pub/sub somehow.
Anyway, aside from ranting this is mostly just a plan at this stage, although I have started to hack the firmware, so it’s not a black box anymore.