[CUWiN] Meraki -an MIT roofnet implementation $50 each

Todd Boyle tboyle at rosehill.net
Mon Mar 19 17:15:17 CDT 2007

>Below is one of Steve Stroh's reports on Meraki.
>Our city already operates some open APs in parks and so forth.
>A city network manager is considering proposing these
>Meraki APs to the city council.  With luck Merakis will be hanging in
>the parks too.
>Any city that does public APs , their citizens need only ask their
>city council, "Why do we have AP's in public places?  Obviously,
>ot serve the public, to serve the citizens, the taxpayers of the
>city.   Well then, if you are sincere about that, then why are you NOT
>installing something that can route multiple hops, which citizens
>will buy and costs the city essentially nothing?
>March 05, 2007
>Another Real Freedom To Connect
>This article is original content, written exclusively for
>Broadband Wireless Internet Access / WiMAX News
>I've spent much of today shaking my head at the 
>sheer genius, scope, and out-and-out 
>practicality of what <http://meraki.net/>Meraki Networks, Inc. has done.
>I wish that developments like this could make a 
>dent in the 
><http://www.freedom-to-connect.net>Freedom To 
>Connect crowd that's meeting this week in Silver 
>Spring, MD. They're meeting to endlessly hash 
>over telecom policy and its implications, when 
>the products that Meraki is selling is making 
>all of that discussion practically moot. What 
>Meraki is doing is creating a real Freedom To 
>Connect - connect to what you want and do what 
>you want - you (helped) build a network!
>Of course, I don't see much evidence that the 
>wireless industry, even the "radical fringe" of 
>the wireless industry represented by the 
><http://mw07tx.com/>MuniWireless conference also 
>meeting this week, gets this trend either.
>We've seen a lot of tries at this commercially, 
>including a very credible, but ultimately 
>doomed  effort by a company called Rooftop 
>Communications that was 
>by Nokia, and now the plethora of "streetlight" 
>Metropolitan Wi-Fi networks. Non-commercially, 
>we've been hearing about this sort of promise 
>from various community wireless groups for years 
>now, but such efforts inevitably bog down when 
>it comes to actually deploying network devices 
>to form a network that's truly usable.
>Meraki has overcome that hurdle by creating 
>commercialized, cheap, easy-to-use-and-deploy 
>Wireless Mesh nodes. Meraki's 
>(upper) is $49, and the outdoor unit (lower) is 
>$99. The outdoor unit uses Power Over Ethernet, 
>so you can put it up high and in the clear and 
>keep the power brick and the Ethernet adapter 
>inside. The outdoor unit also has an external antenna port... Wow!
>You... as in you and your neighbors... 
>civilians, ordinary people... just start putting 
>these things up and boom - a network is born. 
>Either use Ethernet to connect to them (each 
>node has an Ethernet port) or connect via Wi-Fi, 
>so practically anything Wi-Fi is going to work 
>with them. What would be very cool, but the 
>literature doesn't suggest this (I've sent an 
>email query to Meraki), would be to be able to 
>put up multiple outdoor nodes with directional 
>antennas, and link them on a rooftop via 
>Ethernet. The trick is to have the "meshing" 
>function work over the Ethernet ports as well as it does over the radio ports.
>Focusing on the limitations of this particular 
>hardware implementation would be a huge mistake, 
>because there's absolutely nothing inherent in 
>what Meraki has done to constrain their systems 
>to work only at modest ranges. What they've done 
>to date is to optimize for price, compromising 
>range somewhat in these particular units. Much 
>higher power is possible, as well as using other 
>frequency bands such as 5 GHz that would make 
>the meshing function even more impressive. I 
>have no idea what chipset Meraki is using at 
>present, but in their next versions they'll be 
>hard pressed not to implement dual band capability.
>Meraki doesn't just focus on the hardware, sexy 
>as that is. Meraki is also actively involved in 
>deployment scenarios. They're working on a 
><http://sf.meraki.net/>formal deployment in San 
>Francisco whose goals are impressive, as well as 
>to deploy Meraki systems on a for-pay basis.
><http://laptop.media.mit.edu/>One Laptop Per 
>Child that is Wi-FI mesh-enabled. 
><http://www.nokiausa.com/N800>Nokia N800 that is 
>finally a real Wi-Fi-enabled web tablet 
>(gorgeous - I got to play with one a bit last 
>week and I want one!) VOIP over Wi-FI phones 
>also include Skype In/Out for PSTN compatibility 
>at modest prices. The mind reels.
>Robert Berger was 
>Wi-FI will win in the end... is winning now.
>Sam Churchill of DailyWireless.org is absolutely 
>right (thanks for the pointer to Meraki, Sam) - 
><http://www.dailywireless.org/2007/03/05/meraki-rocks-the-casbah/>Maraki Rocks!
>I'll be ordering my Meraki nodes sometime this month.
>By Steve Stroh
>This article is Copyright © 2007 by Steve Stroh
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