Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Meraki wireless mesh may come to San francisco

Meraki is an extension to the MIT Roofnet project, with the hopes of bringing free or low-cost Internet access to people around the world. I have been testing using and messing around with MIT's Roofnet for about two years, along with many other open source Wi-Fi projects. What draws me to MIT Roofnet is the Mesh feature. Allowing to create a network mesh of wireless devices and extend the reach of wireless network.
According to Katie at GigaOM, It looks like Google has also seen the value of MIT Roofnet, Meraki and it has together with some VCs has funded the Meraki.

Meraki’s co-founder Sanjit Biswas has told GigaOM that the company completed a bridge round of funding last week, which included Google and “a few Silicon Valley angels. We’d bootstrapped the company so far, so this cash is really just for growth/acceleration . . .and for the development of some products we plan to launch next year,”
The company currently sells a $49 wireless 802.11b/g router, which is according to the Meraki that is in beta, that allows users to build a wireless mesh network or extend the range of a community network.
Google showed a Meraki router previously at a San Francisco WiFi community meeting/ townhall meeting, a good, inexpensive way for residents to extend San Francisco’s planned city-wide WiFi network indoors. What goes on outdoors?
Unlike MIT's Roofnet project, Meraki is not completely Open Source. Some part of the software / router is closed source as Meraki tries to commercialize the Roofnet project. Also Management of the mesh networks are handled by Meraki and I did not see the source for that either. But visit to the sites open source code, with some knowledge of Roofnet project, openWRT, it is possible yet to run your own open source wireless mesh, if you do not want to pay.
But I think it is worth to get a Meraki router and play if you have any interests in community wireless networks. I do, in San Francisco.
Meraki also invites you to develop and extend firmware, build new applications that run on the Meraki firmware. Examples to date have included integration with embedded devices like video cameras and detailed log collection for network research.

For Wireless meshes this is company to watch. Visit to Roofnet says that all Roofnetters are taking sabbatical at Meraki. That is a lot of Brain Power!

GigaOM article
Geemodo: San Francisco Google Free Wireless gets a Blow, almost literally
Meraki Networks
MIT Roofnet


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