Meraki, Google backing, more...

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Apr 11, 2008, 9:39:08 PM4/11/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
This month's Fast Company has an article on Meraki. It is now online


"Google was its first major customer, buying about 1,000 repeaters,
most of them for a municipal network in Mountain View, California. It
also injected some seed money into Meraki, which cobbled together $25
million in second-round funding, much of it from Sequoia Capital."

This is in line with talks I had with some people in the U.S., that at
least 65 WiFi access points arte required to cover a square mile:

"In San Francisco, Meraki started by installing a handful of DSL lines
in homes around the city. Then it called for volunteers, mostly by
word of mouth, to host repeaters in their homes and on rooftops
(outdoor repeaters are more powerful, thanks to longer antennae). Up
to 100 repeaters are needed per square mile, depending on the density
and height of nearby buildings. As many as 100 people can comfortably
share a DSL line; Meraki calculates they're getting 1 megabyte per
second on average. As with any network, speed drops as more people log
on, but heavy traffic automatically reroutes to nearby, less-
trafficked connections. Six months into the project, Meraki had
installed upward of 750 repeaters, covering about 10% of San
Francisco; they'll need at least 10,000 -- and many more DSL lines --
for the entire city."

"According to Biswas, the entire San Francisco network will cost "in
the low millions," a tab that Meraki is picking up to show that a
citywide network can be built relatively inexpensively. All others
that want Meraki's technology -- cities, organizations, groups of Wi-
Fi-loving friends -- will have to pay."

Here is the catch: volunteers. What I've seen so far here in
Wellington is a bunch of companies interested but no volunteers. I
also read about the sponsorship for devices (from Webstock for
example). Are these devices going to those companies, who in theory
could pay for the devices?

I wonder if this "volunteer" model would work in a country like NZ
where "unlimited" broadband is not common. Who wants to share a
limited resource?

Of course companies would like to invest in this as an "in line
advertising opportunity". But would the return be enough?

Anyway, you guys are doing the meetings and probably gt a better view
than me since I am not attending those. More on this later.
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