Rural and regional communities are under-served when it comes to Internet accessibility. As technology is increasingly utilised in regional and rural Australia for communication, business and emergency communications, a low-cost community-access approach to distributed IP networks seemed like a pretty fun thing to play around with.

What it does

Returns power to the people, man.

How I built it

The network is built up of mesh nodes, each able to communicate with each other via a meshing protocol. The meshing protocol establishes communication through participating nodes on the network, allowing any two nodes on the network to communicate with each other via other mesh nodes, so long as there is a path of intermediary nodes within wireless range of each other.

Challenges I ran into

I need bigger aerials, basically. Demonstration of the utility of the mesh network was limited by the only source of Internet connectivity being half a kilometer away. Bigger aerials would have meant the number of mesh nodes participating in the network would have been able to cover this distance.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I built a mesh network, and it did indeed mesh to form a computer network. The video call we ran over the mesh was pretty cool, too.

The portable mesh-node that I was driving around Bega with worked really well, too. It was running off of a golf-cart battery.

What I learned

You can never have a large enough cache of RF equipment at home.

What's next for 802.11 Wireless Mesh Network

Larger-scale longer distance testing. It's only 10kms to Brogo...

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