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Meta Mesh Needs Your Help

March 3, 2016

 

Meta Mesh is looking for immediate expertise and assistance regarding low-level flashing of widely-used "prosumer" grade wireless routers. For the past three years Meta Mesh has successfully built up a decentralized public WiFi network in Pittsburgh called PittMesh. But the simple process of flashing a router is not so simple any more.

The FCC has recently mandated that manufacturers secure their devices to ensure compliance with existing rules regarding broadcast strength, channel-switching, and channel usage. Unfortunately, the easiest way for manufacturers to comply with this mandate was simply to totally lock down new firmware and to prevent any third-party firmware from being installed even if the FCC explicitly stated that this is allowed.

As a result, many of our favorite devices cannot be flashed with OpenWRT by normal means. Fortunately, due to the slim profit-margin that many prosumer devices have, the implementation of these "lockdowns" may be weak and a workaround may be available. Meta Mesh is looking for assistance in getting around these limitations by means of flashing via lower-level protocols such as Serial, JTAG, Buspirate, and others. We lack this experience and are looking for "expert" level assistance in order to streamline our installation process. 

Meta Mesh Wireless Communities provides open public WiFi for developing neighborhoods and business districts as well as providing free education to residents who want to help maintain and expand their neighborhood's network. We source bandwidth from router hosts in the community and then utilize their shared bandwidth to provide Internet access for the project area. Our networks are highly desired in locations where residents see an Internet connection as a luxury. Please help us continue to bridge this "digital divide" by aiding us in working around these unfortunate technical limitations.

If you are interested or know someone who may be helpful to continue the use of open-source technology in routers, contact us at info@metamesh.org.

Thank you!

Adam Longwill
Executive Director
Meta Mesh Wireless Communities

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