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Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network


A 44 page guide to Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network:

Reliable, affordable and easy access to telecommunication services for all has been identified as key to social and economic development in Africa. Self-provisioning and community ownership of low cost, distributed infrastructure is becoming a viable alternative to increase the penetration of telecommunication services in rural Africa. The recent emergence of wireless mesh network technology (based on IEEE 802.11 a/b/g standards) can help to improve the delivery of telecommunication services in these regions.

The guide tries to simplfy the planning and building of a mesh network, using a step-by-step approach to setting up a infrastructure mesh node, or an access point using a Linksys WRT54gl and the Freifunk firmware or DD WRT firmware depending on the node type.

The first version of the guide was published earlier this month. I mention both because the guide is licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike and because it would be wonderful if the network layer turned out to be something that could also be peer produced, e.g., see a portion of Lawrence Lessig’s 2006 LinuxWorld keynote or portions of Yochai Benkler’s Wealth of Networks, but that aspiration is largely untested. And there’s nothing like practical experience.

Posted 21 November 2007