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Our Small & Simple Grants At Work On The Ground: Meta Mesh

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Public WiFi comes to the Hill District!

 

Great news! Meta Mesh Wireless Communities has received a $15,000 Small and Simple Grant from Neighborhood Allies for the purposes of bringing open public WiFi to the Hill District! The grant covers equipment and educational resources for Hill District residents to install, maintain, and troubleshoot their own Community Wireless Network. You can see a general map of the network’s coverage below, but we are continuously expanding and adding new sites, so it may change!

We are partnering with some wonderful organizations to make the Hill District the largest, most successful Community Wireless Network yet (click on the pictures for more information about our partners):

 

 

All of these organizations are helping us in some way to make ubiquitous Internet access in the Hill District a reality –  and we here at Meta Mesh are very appreciative of all of their support! 

The Hill District Community Wireless Network is going to be very different from our other neighborhood networks in two key aspects:

First, we are completely re-vamping our WiFi class curriculum.  Meta Mesh has applied for additional funding specifically to enhance our pedagogy and make it truly Maker-friendly.  That means hands-on learning tools, exercises, and activities.  As always, these classes will be open to the entire public – youth and retirees included!  One thing that isn’t changing is the food – oh, yes.  Meals and beverages will be provided at every class!

Probably the greatest benefit to a Community Wireless Network is the open public WiFi.  But mesh networking has so many more capabilities, and we will be exploring some of those in the Hill District!  Consequently, Meta Mesh has drafted the talents of former team member and superdad Jim Keener to help develop a Community Hub – an intranet resource for the Hill District that will change the way residents engage with the organizations that serve them in the Hill.  This Hub can act as a community message board, emergency alert system, and a community event calendar!  We will be working closely with residents and neighborhood leaders to gauge what services are wanted most from the Community Hub. The best part is, this Hub can be accessed when the Internet is down in the area.

As with all of Meta Mesh’s projects, community involvement is essential. We want to teach people how to build a community-owned wireless network themselves. For that reason we are announcing the dates for the 6 classes that residents need to learn how to build their own community WiFi network starting August 16th!

All classes are taught by Meta Mesh and will be held at the Hill House First Source Center at 1908 Wylie Avenue in the Hill. All classes are free, food will be served, and you should be there early because the classes start promptly at 6:30 pm!

Sign up for each of the classes individually on Meetup.com at the links below:
WiFi Basics 1: Radio Gaga: How Radio Communication Works

WiFi Basics 2: RF Math is FUN: How to Calculate Signal Strength

WiFi Basics 3: Radio on Planet Earth and the Dark Arts of WiFi

Networking Basics: WANs, LANs, and WLANs, Oh My!

Advanced Networking: The Mesh Prince of Bel Air: OLSR

Installation: Climbin’ Dirty!

And get on the Hill District Mailing List to get all the updates for the project HERE!

We are still looking for volunteers and node hosts, so please contact us if you live in or own a business in the Hill District.  Until then, keep your eyes peeled for more news and events!

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