DIY Mesh Guide Software and Resources

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Pilot mesh projects

A number of pilot mesh projects across the world have demonstrated that a community can establish and maintain a wireless mesh network and have access to a range of modern information and communication services. Below are some of the examples mentioned in the guide.

Hardware Required

Wireless routers: Linksys WRT54G (up to version 4.0) or Linksys WRT54GL (version 1.0 or 1.1). From WRT54G version 5.0 the flash memory has been reduced from 4MB to 2MB and as a result the memory is no longer sufficient for the Freifunk firmware. The Linksys WRT54GL is currently one of the most popular devices for wireless networking.

Running old firmware on new hardware can hang up the router. You can check the Wikipedia Linksys page for specifications of the different Linksys models and hardware revisions.

Software Required

The Freifunk and DD-WRT firmware is continually being updated and new releases are available on a regular basis. Always check for the latest versions online as the DIY Guide might not be updated regularly enough to reflect the newest versions of the firmware.

  • Freifunk firmware version x.x.x (The latest version of the firmware can be download from http://download-master.berlin.freifunk.net/ipkg/_g+gl/ ) If the full names of the files are not fully displayed, move the mouse over each name/link and notice the bottom left corner of your screen for the full name of the file. All these files are the same except for the language (i.e. English, German, etc.) they have been built for. To download the English version, select openwrt-g-freifunk-x.x.x-en.bin. Note the folder/directory to which this file is stored on your local machine. The firmware is continually being updated and revised. You can see the readme.txt in the Freifunk packages directory for an explanation of the different firmware packages available.

Resources

  • Video - Making a Cantenna The video shows, step-by-step, the building of a cantenna (antenna made from a can) for wireless networking (Wi-Fi, WLAN at 2.4 Ghz). Without audio, and with simple subtitles and clear pantomimic instructions, the video lends itself well to localisation.
  • Wireless Networking in the Developing World The overall goal of this book is to help you build affordable communication technology in your local community by making best use of whatever resources are available. Using inexpensive off-the-shelf equipment and local sources for materials and fabricating parts yourself, you can build reliable network links with very little budget. By working with your local community, you can build a telecommunications infrastructure that benefits everyone who participates in it.

Please report any broken links to diymeshguide[at]meraka.org.za