Gloria Ferris

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open-mesh wifi on the next block to the north

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Here’s an important announcement, in its totality, from our neighbor Bill Callahan.

Open-Mesh wifi on my block

Today is the big twice-a-year Street Sale on Archwood Avenue, where I live.  (Tomorrow, too.)  I’m currently sitting on my front porch watching the shoppers go by and showing those who ask how our new “Free Archwood WiFi” works.

Yes, we now have a free public wifi mesh serving our block.  It currently covers a 500-foot stretch of the street going east from West 33rd.  As far as I can tell the access is reasonably good indoors as well as outdoors, but our user sample is still pretty small. (I know of six users so far other than me, and they all seem to be inside their homes.)

Free Archwood WiFi currently consists of Open-Mesh minrouters on three front porches as well as in two windows, all getting bandwidth from another minirouter attached to a standard DSL router and serving as the gateway. Each minirouter cost only $29.  (Well, actually, they cost us nothing so far… we borrowed them from One Community, which is “sponsoring” our experiment in viral networking).  Total equipment cost to date: Less than $200.

Most of the nodes have been operating together for the past 48 hours or so, with zero problems or downtime.

Open-Mesh is a nonprofit open-source “fork” from the more corporate Meraki viral mesh system, best known for its Free The Net project in San Francisco.  Both trace their pedigree and personnel to the venerable RoofNet initiative at MIT.

For the geeks, here’s the current Free Archwood network diagram from our online dashboard provided by Open-Mesh. (The outer lines around the nodes are current users).

Pretty cool, huh?

Callahan’s Cleveland Diary » Blog Archive » Open-Mesh wifi on my block

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 6th, 2009 at 3:56 pm