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Volunteers needed Saturday: test of Linux-based wireless mesh

Hi all,

As you may know, the MIT Roofnet project
has been developing and testing an open source wireless mesh 
network in Cambridge.

This Saturday, the developers are hoping to test their open 
source mesh network system in the context of a housing 
development in Boston, with most of the nodes/antennas placed 
indoors. Their software relies on Roofnet Linux, a pared down 
version of Pebble, which is derived from Debian.

To date, most of their testing has been done in the lab or with 
all antennas placed on roofs outdoors. How well will it work in a 
high density housing complex? Please help us find out this 
Saturday. Volunteers are needed to tend the nodes, which they 
hope to place in 18 entryways throughout the development, as well 
as several to a floor in the main highrise here:

As you can see in the last of those pictures, it's across the 
street from the T... that's the Back Bay stop on the Orange Line 
on Dartmouth street just outside Copley Square.

Some of you attended a Linux Installfest held at that location a 
few years ago (the South End Technology Center).

Volunteers will be asked to arrive at the South End Technology 
Center at 11:00 am. The test itself will run from noon to 1:00 
pm. We'd need to hear from you in advance if you might be 
available. If you think you'd be available to help, please drop 
me a line (sronan at or give me a call (617-354-0825 
x11) today, providing your contact info. And it would help to 
know if you might have a long (20+ foot) extension cord that you 
can bring (though that's not required by any means). The test 
itself would just require your going to a pre-assigned hallway or 
entranceway in the complex, plugging in two or three of the nodes 
and hanging out with them for an hour while tests are done... Not 
very exciting but very helpful indeed.

While the mesh researchers have to date been using fairly 
expensive equipment, with nodes costing something like $250, 
they're now porting the software to $75 Netgear routers. And 
they're eager for its use to be expanded. In May there'll be a 
Boston WiFi summit at Boston City Hall and the Boston Foundation 
is funding a study of WiFi possibilities for the city.

If any of you can make it, I'd also be pleased to show you around 
an existing Cisco-based WiFi WAN that is providing steady service 
in the area on an on-going basis already.
     - Steve Ronan

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BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
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