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Nice! We are going to reuse mesh network technology, field-tested in Africa by Simone Sala, also the Italian mountain village of Esino Lario, for Wikimania 2016: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wikimania_Esino_Lario_Network_Topology.jpg

What do you think of the Internet Archive's community wireless/village wifi/roof2roof initiatives? https://blog.archive.org/?s=wifi



You may want to check ipfs (ipfs.io) and the projects on the http://redecentralize.org/interviews/

Stephen Purvis


This seems timely given some of the latest news:



really nice stuff, just to let you know there's also a community run network in italy called Ninux. Here the node map: http://map.ninux.org/

William Waites


Great article. Not entirely clear that wireless networks are
low-tech though. It's more that the equipment costs have come
down enough and the techniques refined enough that it is within
reach for many small groups to build something substantial.

A minor correction: the first picture is actually the mast on
the Isle of Eigg and it is part of Hebnet (http://hebnet.co.uk/)
not Tegola. They are neighbours, and are interconnected, but
the networks are distinct. The second picture is indeed Tegola.



if wireless mesh nodes and wireless routers are leased, and mega corporations can then run the software necessary to make a profit off of using the wifi networks as an extension of the cellular connectivity network---than this will happen.


you cannot get from A to Z in the developed world. you must find a corporation with deep pockets and incentive to find a business model to get you there.

google's project fi is taking the next step. and i would hardly call google a highly sustainable company.

the reason wifi mesh networking has not yet taken off is because no one has yet found someone like google to figure out a software method for interspersing it seemlessly with cellular 4g connections. now that project FI is begingging to lead on this issue it is VERY possible at&t tmobile sprint and other provders will be forced to engage on the hybrid business model of using 4g and wifi TOGHETER to provide data service.

Ric Pau


I would love a text-only internet with the ability to only download pictures and videos that I needed. That would free up a lot of bandwidth and allow faster speeds.



Hi Ric Pau,

That would also depend a lot on your browser. You could look into text-based only browsers such as Lynx that would you to do exactly that!

Daniel Connell


I designed a reflector dish from plywood and chicken wire which you can make for $10-20 with a saw and a drill.
Build tutorial at: http://solarflower.org/?content=othertech&lang=en&tech=reflectordish

It's surprisingly effective.



An interesting article, however the tone makes it sound like the low bandwidth demands of remote locations have to be redeveloped. I can assure you that the tools to do all you discussed is already at hand. --

* eMail has always been a store and forward technology. It does not require point to point interactivity, never has.

* There have been text only web browsers since the 1990's. Lynx comes to mind as one example.

* Open source CDN's exist.

* Cellular? That too is available for but for the effort and a grant -- OpenBTS. One would have to work with the proper regulatory body in country. But considering the reluctance of the big city suppliers, that is not a great hurdle.

Shame you did not cover any of the South American wifi networks. Specifically in Argentina. Free, open, reasonably fast.

Good article none the less.



I predict the mesh net concept will become very popular if the Trans Pacific Trade (TTP) agreement is ratified. TPP contains draconian measures to control online access to copyright protected data,and $10,000 fines for merely streaming certain content: stopthetrap.net

Ken Johnson


Historically, the life of a fast message technology such as optical telegraph, telegram or landline phone is about 70 years. The Internet is about halfway through its life expectancy. I wonder if this would be a good time to establish an Internet Preservation Society so that my grand children will be able to see and try this strange, ephemeral medium.



1. As mobile network evolve from 2G to 3G to 4G, the power consumption is constantly decreasing. Same should be apply to 5G too.
2. If the energy is to become much more valuable than they currently are, then the first thing to take hit would be those servers hosting all sort of websites that we want to browse, as those server take up much more energy than individual computers and networking devices, and thus even if local connection can survive, the internet would be changed greatly.
3. Wifi is something cheap and easy and accessible, but in case coverage of a single node is key then it is not the most optimal technology due to the bandwidth it use. something like cellular network that go down to ~400MHz shall provide better coverage.

Kenneth Keen


It took me a few years to catch this on the Freifunk mentioned above. Five years ago Inge started the Freifunk network in KiefernStrasse Duesseldorf, I joined her weeks later and today this is the most dense freely available network in the German republique.
Your articles are excellent and becoming more and more relevant to those of us who happen to be years ahead in thinking - independent, hand made, human powered activity is the future!

You just need to catch up with the date - 2017 11 20 14:49 UTC is standard format. If we can't get to agree on the date then we are lost.

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