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[liberationtech] Mesh Networks?

elham gheytanchi elhamucla at
Fri Jun 17 12:34:25 PDT 2011

if that is the case, why is the state department funding mesh networks in Afghanistan? (reported in the NY times)? FabFi is expanding its work: 

Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 12:26:46 -0700
From: steveweis at
To: companys at
CC: liberationtech at
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Mesh Networks?

My experience using MIT's roofnet mesh network was generally poor. They had about 100 nodes around Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here's an old snapshot of geographic coverage and connectivity: 

The roofnet team went on to found Meraki and tried to build community WiFi in San Francisco: They had 800 Wifi hotspots around the city. I never personally used one, but you used to see their "Free the net" networks everywhere. As of 2009, they stopped expanding their network. I don't know what happened to it, but didn't see any mention on their website anymore. I think they have shifted away from mesh networking to focus on network management products.

Portland had a similar network to roofnet called NetEquality. It doesn't look like they even have a webpage anymore. OLPC XS was supposed to use mesh networking: That also went nowhere.

I think WiFi-based mesh networking is difficult because you need many nodes to cover even a small geographic area. It also needs enough egress bandwidth to support regular usage and a means of preventing someone from swamping the network. None of these examples were unauthorized. They would have been trivial to corrupt or disable by someone motivated to shut them down.

I don't know if this is relevant to OpenMesh. They are asking for "high end wirelesss engineers that understand how to change firmware for wireless devices". That could mean a lot of things.

On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 8:06 AM, Yosem Companys <companys at> wrote:

What do you all think?  Will mesh networks work?  
Shervin Pishevar is a really smart guy, so if anyone can help organize this effectively, it is he. 
But mesh nets have been around for a while and never taken off, so just wondering what the technical hurdles are.

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