[CUWiN] Approaches to start up a mesh wireless network

Bob Keyes bob at sinister.com
Sat Aug 9 23:33:21 CDT 2008

On Sat, 9 Aug 2008, Todd Boyle wrote:

> Can anybody point me to any articles or outlines, of the
> approaches to starting up a neighborhood wireless network
> in a mixed, middle class suburb?   I don't even know how
> to begin to do the outreach and marketing.  What is the
> message?  And, what is the hardware/routing proposition?

I'd say that the most condusive sentiment is a mutual drive towards both 
Internet participation and local, neighborhood pariticipation and trust. 
Can you talk to your neighbors? Do you know them? Do you have much in 
common with them?

Another inducement is the relatively high cost, compared to average 
income, of broadband in the neighborhood. If it isn't available, then you 
may get a lot of interest, but be prepared for the arrival of 
dsl/FIOS/cable modem with competitive starter rates. If your NAN 
(neighborhood area network) gets their attention they will try to stomp it 
out by offering very attractive rates at first. Be ready for them to 
attack, and defend your network by showing that the rates are only 
introductory, and will go up, significantly, over time.

> What are the preconditions more conducive to success,
> given that my neighborhood has well performing broadband
> service from both cable and telco.
> We have almost zero college age people around here, and
> the ones we have seem to be conservative, low-energy kinds
> of people.   We have substantial numbers of middle age, graying
> people, but they seem to be living in a cable-TV world and
> uninterested in internet.  The biggest demographic is families
> with kids, we have a lot of elementary schools.  And these
> families have substantial incomes from jobs like Microsoft,
> Google, Boeing, or the FIRE industries.  In other words they
> hate freedom and they know perfectly well what the P2P
> networks are for.   i.e.  they actually want everybody to pay
> cablecos and telcos, for exactly the same reason they want
> everybody to pay taxes.   They hate us for our freedom,

That's a real problem. maybe you should appeal to their kids, directly.

> I will guess that a 3rd broadband service is possible if it
> performs at least at the megabit speed with low latency
> and good reliability, and, they don't care what kind of
> technology is on the roof?   I seem to be gravitating towards
> a WISP turnkey type of system because of the likely, great
> ranges of half a mile or more, between nodes and there
> is heavy tree cover and hills, here,

I would say that you are facing an uphill battle. You need fellow rebels 
and activists to help you, and it sounds like they're in short supply.

There are technical limitations which make wifi mesh networks more or less 
attractive, but i don't know that these are enough to derail the telecm & 
cable duopoly.


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