Tarheel MeshNet Initiative

I just found this new group on Facebook. Its called the Tarheel MeshNet Initiative. If you’re using facebook login and look for this group. I’ll post an external public URL once I find one. 🙂 This is a wonderful thing to have locally. Yah UNC!

Our goal is to design and implement mesh wifi networks for future deployment in low-income communities.

What is MeshNet?
A mesh network uses multiple wireless routers, called nodes, to transfer data around a network. These networks are simple to set up, can run on off-the-shelf hardware, and can be used to blanket an area with network and internet coverage. For low income communities, this means that a small number of traditional high-speed internet connections, such as DSL, can be used to provide connectivity to an entire area. The range of the network can be extended simply by adding an additional node, which involves nothing more than just plugging it in.

Cross Posted on OrangeNetworking.org

Current Project
TMNI’s current project is implementing a mesh network here at UNC to gain experience in deploying these networks. We will be focusing first on implementing mesh wireless in selected dorms, then hopefully expanding to implement a mesh network for a small group of houses off campus.

How you can help
You don’t need to be a computer person to help! We need volunteers to help with a variety of tasks.
1) We need people to volunteer their living spaces (dorm rooms, houses, etc) to host one of our nodes. These will be just standard wireless routers running the mesh network software. All you have to do is plug it in and start getting internet access!

2) We need people to help with organizational planning and publicity. Community wireless networks only work when the community is invested in the project, and the first step is awareness.

3) Networking hardware is expensive, but fortunately, we don’t need much. We need help finding old wireless routers that no one wants so we can convert them into MeshNet nodes.

4) If you are technically inclined, we need people to help build the mesh networks. It’s a big task, so the more help the better.

If you’d like to get involved, send an email to meshnet@unc.edu

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