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As hardware becomes cheaper and wifi connectivity more pervasive, it won't take much time before mesh network of private citizens start to pop up like mushrooms, isolated from the internet or with a gateway. What is the state-of-the-art of personal wifi networks built up by private citizens in terms of technology, effectiveness, actual deployment and tools (hardware and software) dedicated to this purpose ?

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Wiki? Maybe? Kind of unsure about this one... –  Stefan Thyberg Jul 16 '09 at 14:54

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows 7 with it's Virtual Wifi will be really important in this field moving forwards.

As I understand it, it will essentially allow mesh networking by virtue of the fact that the "real" wifi card will be able to associate with more than one SSID.

I would have thought an additional layer of user-facing software will be required on top of this feature to make it all work.

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This is soo cool. Anything from the linux/OSX side on this regard ? –  Stefano Borini Jul 17 '09 at 13:21
    
Nothing I've heard about. –  tomfanning Jul 19 '09 at 22:21

The IEEE standard for mesh networking is 802.11s (an ammendment to 802.11, which is the wireless LAN standard almost everyone uses). The Linux implementation of 802.11s is already upstream, and can already be used with some drivers.

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For the average end user. Wireless N technology is the top of the consumer wireless tech mountain.

If you go into more commercial oriented wireless products like the Belair 200 or the Cisco outdoor rated access points you have built in mesh capability to tether together a backnet using the wireless A radio. Many consumer grade access points lack the ability to simultaneously transmit on both wireless A and G frequencies in full duplex.

I am sure the consumer grade products will at somepoint incorporate these features as community meshing becomes more prevalent.

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Meraki makes some really sweet hardware (and software to hook it all up). The prices are competitive with Linksys, etc. The software to hook them together is powerful and simple to setup.

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