Today is the first day of our fundraising campaign. Meta Mesh has asked for funds to ensure we can accomplish three goals: develop new hardware to support building Community Wireless Networks, develop new software to increase the value of those networks, and new educational components and materials to better explain how our networks work to our local working group students.
Some readers may recall a particularly lengthy article from mid-February called "The Lockdown is Here" which detailed the FCC's strange mission to discourage use of third party firmware like OpenWRT on manufactured products sold in the United States. At the end of the article I laid out four paths into the future. One of those paths was to start building our own hardware.
Meta Mesh has chosen that path.
For the past few months we have been working in secrecy to bring to you a new webstore located at www.metamesh.tech and the first batch of fully open-source hardware we have built in conjunction with the manufacturer GL-iNet. Now we are ready to show you the first version of our new routers that will build Community Wireless Networks in our hometown of Pittsburgh and also around the world.
Code named "Allegheny," we began researching solutions that were 1) compact 2) inexpensive and 3) powerful. We also needed an indoor version that was simple and attractive and a rugged outdoor version that was easier to install than the bulky Ubiquiti Rocket that we have been using. And thanks to the generous assistance of New Sun Rising and Hack Pittsburgh, we were able to obtain the resources and manufacturing tools needed to produce Meta Mesh's first custom router: The AP150.
Unlike other wireless routers, the Allegheny (AP150 variant) is specifically built with the Community Wireless Network in mind: high-gain, omnidirectional antenna, 1 Watt of maximum transmit power, power over Ethernet to reduce cable clutter, and an extra RJ45 port for sensor network equipment, security cameras, network maintenance or any other need a CWN may have.
Sitting flush against a wall with only 2 tiny 3/16" inch masonry screws attaching it, this router and it's water-tight enclosure allow easy installation from even the most novice installers. This lowers the skill barrier for would-be CWN's around the world who have perhaps attracted an abundance of technologically-minded people but few with experience dancing atop ladders. Meta Mesh realized early on that the large routers initially used in the PittMesh CWN were difficult for inexperienced installers to put in correctly. The Allegheny solves that problem. Now, mesh networking can be done by anyone.
The AP150 has the option of a pre-crimped length of outdoor-rated Ethernet cable that runs from the router to the included Power over Ethernet injector. We also have learned that the vast majority of router owners have never logged in and changed a single setting of their WiFi routers. So we have taken to pre-configuring during the ordering of the routers to customize the SSID (WiFi network name) and provide a randomized password to ensure security. Meta Mesh ensures that the router you receive doesn't need to be logged into once to begin meshing with your community.
The Allegheny is plug-and-play.
We are also selling an indoor variant of the AP150 called simply the A150. Incredibly compact, the A150 fits in your hand but is a full-fledged WiFi router in and of itself. Like its outdoor brother, our indoor router comes pre-configured with PittMesh-compatible configurations that will immediately sync and join with nearby PittMesh routers. This makes for easy meshing with the AP150 from anywhere in your house or business.
Meta Mesh is committed to reducing the complexities of building a Community Wireless Network and removing the barriers that many have encountered in building their own networks.
By offering these plug-and-play devices for homes and businesses, we are able to provide, perhaps, the easiest decentralized Community Wireless Network solution that has ever existed.
We hope you support is in our fundraising and enjoy our products. We look forward to serving you all!