TheFreeNet at Barcamp

Skip to first unread message

Mike P

Apr 29, 2008, 6:52:56 AM4/29/08
We had a Mobile / Identity barcamp on Anzac weekend.  We had Internet access donated by the State Services Commission.  I built an adhoc network in about 10 minutes, using Meraki Minis. 
Level 2 had a standard Meraki Mini.  Level 5 had a Meraki Mini, with an omnidirectional aerial, to expand horizontally.  Oliver brought his Meraki in, for the north end of the room.  There were three other Meraki for the floor, which covered the entire floor plate.
I have put some screen shots in the attached word document.
We had about 30 people connected at any one time (not all downloading concurrently), and about 40 people in total connected over the 2 days.  Total download 1 Gb, with average of 1 - 2 hops.
A good demonstration of why mesh networks are so useful.

Donald Gordon

Apr 29, 2008, 4:24:36 PM4/29/08
Any chance of a summary of TFN/FTNA discussion? I would have been there
if I hadn't been taking a badly needed holiday :-)


Jo Booth - Mesh|net

May 2, 2008, 2:12:11 PM5/2/08
to TheFreeNet - Aotearoa
I think I was taking notes. Was my first time hearing about
TheFreeNet, and immediately saw the potential of the TFN Aotearoa
initiative. I'd had a play with a mini a few months back, but only had
one - and only so much I could poke at it. I was impressed by the ease
of setup and small packaged mesh node.

On the Sunday we used one (eventually) at the OpenID DevCamp to pull
in Cafénet and collaborate. With the (deprecated?) bridging feature
we turned a local node into a free one (utilising some VISA inscribed
plastic for the benefit of all). With the Mini hooked into a USB
battery pack it was a portable node, which was carried down to the
Matterhorn for more use at the bar/dinner with Dick Hardt.

I did snap a picture of two at the barcamp - here is one of the mini's
in action.

My current 'free net where there is none' solution is a lot more
cumbersome: a router, large aerial and laptop, with associated power
needs. Functionally the Meraki mini on battery can do that, though
trying to pull in a signal through a building (the beehive) and trees
(in front of beehive) to VUW/Railway station Cafénet node can take a
fair bit of gain. ref: <>.
I'd be interested to try a variety of aerials on the Meraki minis to
see if shaping could held with a more effective network.

If anyone with a Mini or two is attending the UPcoming event
at Syn Bar in Bond St (free food and drink and good networking) - I
was setting up my gear there (doing a tech rehersal at 5 pm Saturday)
and was considering sharing it out locally for the event - but some
gear tied up in Palmy at the moment... could be a good gathering to
showcase a few units and spread the idea, and I'd love to test
(slightly) out of range connectivity to Cafénet from there with a
Meraki Mini.

It's great to see these ad-hoc mesh networks form and provide some
basic level of connectivity at events, and I know people at event
appreciate it - live blogging, photo and video streaming, twittering
etc - as well as the local irc channel or shared ftp or bookmarks.
It's a simple matter to connect into the nearest source of 'net and
share with a Meraki -- but would be even better with local
connectivity - for Bonjour etc. I can almost see people walking or
commuting to work with battery mesh unit forming an ad-hoc network
down the motorway or street then plugging in for the day, then moving
to a night spot.. the constantly changing nearly 'net...

Anyone got an open-mesh unit yet? I was halfway through reflashing
some gear to test a few things in the software end, but hardware is
more fun.

Jo Booth
Mesh|net / Unlimited Potential / WelMac
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages