Monday, September 1, 2014

Mesh wireless networks

This is an article about mesh wifi internet networks.  If I understand correctly, a mesh network consists of one connection to the larger internet, and then that access is bounced from wireless transmitter to wireless transmitter, such that many households can access the internet, but using just one connection between them.  Or households can forego the internet connection, and just mesh amongst themselves to communicate with one another.

I had heard about this technology as a potential way to bring internet access to remote rural areas in poor countries.  In places like India, there are certain bandwidths of electromagnetic signal (like the MHz numbers on your radio dial) that are in the public domain, and so different community groups set up wireless transmitter towers that connect to the internet and then bounce that signal to other users and other transmitter towers, such that areas without fiber optic cable or other commercial connections can use the internet. 

But this article is discussing use of mesh technology in populated, developed areas as an alternative to commercial internet connections.  I like this idea--it diversifies the options for accessing the internet, and allows individual citizens to be less dependent on commercial companies.  As the article points out, it also grants some anonymity to users, since one IP address is now serving a lot of people, and some of their activity even occurs off-line but within the mesh.  I don't know enough about technology, or have enough social connections in the area where I currently live, to try to set up such a mesh.  But maybe someday...

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