State Of The Mesh: March 2017

March 2, 2017

2017: Meta Mesh's Year of Progress

February was a short month! We're going to send you the update now even though we just sent out one on the 7th of February. It was a fast month, too! We have only a few key updates. Over the past few years we have noticed that February and March are typically slow months mainly because of the weather which, as you know, has been crazy this month.


PittMesh Expansions:


Meta Mesh has contacted Beechview as promised last week and we're hoping to have a meeting to push this project forward this month.



We had a chance meeting with a key person in Sharpsburg who is very interested in moving this project forward. We have prepared an IOBY campaign and will be meeting this month to see if we can kick this project forward in the TEETH and get it rolling for this summer.



We have decided to put SGED on hold as we're not making much progress and our other projects are beginning to demand more of this. We are, however, doing some back channel talks with some key locations in the area to look at possibly building a PittMesh expansion done just by Meta Mesh alone. If there are no more updates in the next month we will remove SGED from our updates.




We had a really excellent meeting with members of the WHSD School Board where we met some very dedicated administrators. Doing a project in the School District is going to be a long term project. There are many resources in the District that we can tap into to provide more Internet access for students to ensure better, faster, and more ubiquitous Internet access with a focus on educational access and not whole-hog Internet access. This project may turn into working with WHSD to identify key locations work assist with lighting them up. We shall see! 




This is a waiting month for Allentown. We've requested an update from the parties involved and we have scheduled a time to come out for a technology round table. Not much to say- it's February after all!




We're super excited to announce a partnership with local WISP Greenlight Wireless this month! Greenlight is Pittsburgh's most ubiquitous Wireless ISP and they have graciously donated the parts and labor for three locations to be connected to their network and to have PittMesh devices attached, allowing for more Internet access along Centre avenue. We will be working with Greenlight beginning in March to determine where these locations will be and will be installing devices with them to push this project further along toward completion!

 Thank you, Greenlight!




In February we kept a close eye on our SAP150 device deployed in Braddock's garden. It has been online for over a month with no blips or hiccups! That means we know what we're doing with solar power and WiFi! We have 2 more SAP150's to deploy and we'll be contacting property owners in Braddock to add more of these devices in March.




If you only knew the excitement we felt for this project.

We just got back from a meeting TODAY with some very important people regarding this still TOP SECRET project. 

We can say that our installation with KINBER is on the verge of being scheduled in Uptown. We have a meeting in early March to determine exactly where we'll be installing the equipment. Thanks to a donation of equipment from someone who has been following our progress for years now, it looks like we'll be able to do put together a super-fast routing solution capable of handing the MASSIVE 500mbps of connectivity KINBER has allowed us to have.

We are still looking for a small server rack- about 7-12 U's. If you are looking to offload one or know someone who is- please let us know at


Project Developments:



C-Hub is coming along. We have streamlined the project down and we expect that it's only about 20-30 hours of effort away from deployment. C-Hub is going to be tightly intertwined with the PiNet project as C-Hub will run partially on the Pi's distributed throughout PittMesh and partially on the router's themselves.

We have a meeting tonight with the developer who has begun writing the documentation for the project and will be getting close to deployment by the end of March if all goes well.




PiNet is getting closer to deployment. We have successfully configured 5 R-Pi 3's and they are live and running on PittMesh now. We're waiting on about $200 worth of equipment to arrive so that we can put these pi's out in the wild. Each will have a battery backup so that updates can still be sent to them on PittMesh even during a power outage. This ability, along with the AP300 which are battery powered, will allow PittMesh to survive for about 10 hours during a power outage, making it a more resilient and useful infrastructure.




So you would think that there would be a simple solution for a UPS for Internet of Things devices. Nope. We have successfully battery-powered a AP150 for 14 hours with some easily-sourced technology. But GL-Inet's AR300 which has two radios instead of one draws more power than our charge controller allows out. So we had to switch designs. It turns out though that uninterruptible power charge controllers do not do what they advertise. We're toying with some other solutions for this problem but development continues on this project. Hopefully we'll be able to begin deploying this in two months. If we can get them up and running they will become the standard hardware that PittMesh uses. 

If you have any expertise on how we can build these devices, we'd like to hear from you at!




PittMesh usage data is here! After some unexpected problems surrounding the way that OpenWRT deals with time and timeservers, we are now collecting data very regularly from, a stratum 1 time server located in Mt. Oliver. Big thanks to Drew for hosting this. You're the man.

As you can see from the screencap above- we typically have between 30 and 70 users connected to PittMesh at any one time!

If you would like to view live usage data right now you can go to and log in with the username and password of "grafanaviewer". Go check it out!




We did it! We renovated the old Meta Mesh website and it looks nice and new now! Click below to go to the home page and check it out. We now have a FAQ section and you can download our presentations, grants, and PittMesh Project Planning Document!



Adam and a new volunteer have begun writing scripts for the various topics that take place in our already-recorded class videos on Youtube. We're dividing these lessons up into topic-specific chunks and creating more videos from them that are higher quality and more easily digestible.

We expect to publish the first one by the end of March. Our first dress rehearsal recording will take place next week.



Unfortunately our project was not selected for UpPrize. Thank you for everyone who supported us and congratulations to everyone who moved forward to the finals!




Still no news on our secret funder request. We understand that there have been meetings held but some decisions are still being made. Next month! We promise! Hopefully. Maybe. These things take time.


Success Indicators




Due to an issue with OpenWRT's time system not syncing as expected and falling out of sync, we were not able to get an accurate rendition of what the past month's usage was. Data would be published to our system wildly out of sync with reality and so many nodes reported as "0" currently connected users when there were actually many connected. This problem has been rectified.

Make sure you check out our draft of the PPPD below! This document is the accumulated knowlege of implementing a PittMesh network in your neighborhood and describes how Meta Mesh goes about implementing a Community Wireless Network!

Download the PittMesh Project Planning Document Here!



We're still so excited about this that we're keeping it on this update.Listen to our Executive Director, Adam Longwill NOT embarrass himself on Science Friday! On February 3rd he was featured in a segment about people sharing bandwidth to build their own Community Wireless Networks around the world! Adam has been a long-time fan of Sci Fri and has been listening for nearly ten years! It was a pleasure to speak with Ira and we all hope he has the opportunity to return some day!


Listen to the recording here! 


Also make sure you check out our Erie News Now segment! It's a piece on the resurgence of Pittsburgh under the Peduto administration and we have a 2 second appearance in it as the reporters toured the WorkHard PGH facilities! Check it aht.


How you can help Meta Mesh this month:


We're in the middle of the Winter Slump! It's hard to get installations done when the weather is so terrible. If you are able, please donate to our 501(c)3 non-profit and we will send you a tax deduction notification sheet for your records.

We're running lean until these projects come to fruition and we need YOUR help to stay afloat! Help us bridge the Digital Divide by keeping us out of debtors prison!

Donate Here at the BOTTOM of the page!


Thank you from all of us a Meta Mesh, We'll see you next month!



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March 2, 2017

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