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While mesh networking is gaining momentum with widespread application, we are concerned with fast handoff in a secure mesh environment. To this end, this paper presents a means in the context of IEEE 802.11s of letting a mesh portal act as an IEEE 802.1X authenticator to reduce costly IEEE 802.1X authentication processes during handoff. Our approach is developed for alignment with IEEE 802.11s and 802.11i, keeping protocols at the station side operable with no changes. As another strength, our design applies to generic multihop wireless networks. Both analytical and simulation modeling are conducted to evaluate our scheme as well. Performance results show that our approach reduces handoff delay by up to 268% or achieves comparable performance resulting from the counterpart IEEE 802.11i scheme with high likelihood of 70%-85% successful preauthentication. Moreover, our performance analysis suggests an optimal number of access points managed by one mesh portal in a network. Qualitative and quantitative discussions indicate that our approach is applicable in pragmatic settings.