All you tech heads should check up on Open Mesh for the purposes of a public, ad hoc network. The Open Mesh system is non-vendor specific, and is
based on the same MIT code project that gave birth to Meraki.
You can take an Open Mesh radio, a Ubiquiti radio, an Anaptyx radio, or even some Linksys and D-Link radios, flash them with the Open Mesh firmware,
and you are off to the races.
The Open Mesh system is a self healing, self forming, self configured mesh network on an 802.11a/b/g/n Single Channel Architecture (SCA). You can use
gear with a single radio, where all user access and backhauling occurs on the same medium, or you can get dual-radio gear that provides user access on
one radio, and backhauling on the other.
Captive portal is built-in to the Open Mesh system. You can customize the page using built-in templates, or create your own. You can also elect to
use the Coova captive portal system. You can provide free access to users, charge a fee, provide vouchers, etc.
The Open Mesh system provides two separate SSIDs - a Public and a Private. The public network can be rate limited, allowing you to set the maximum
upload/download speeds. You can enable AP Isolation, making it virtually impossible for wireless clients to talk to each other on the same network
(to prevent local network hacks). The system keeps up with usage per client, and keeps track of their MAC addresses.
The private side can be configured to bridge to the local LAN, or run NAT to keep things separate. You can even specify a VLAN for the wireless
traffic to run in. The private and public sides have separate passwords, and both use WPA.
The mesh can be fed by a single internet connection, or by many. If everyone in your neighborhood installed an Open Mesh AP on the same "network",
then your mesh network would be fed by everyone's internet connection. If you get on the wireless, the mesh will dynamically route your traffic out
the best internet connection based on network load, connection outages, AP outages, etc.
There is plenty more to look at, but I think I've said enough to get you interested.
To my fellow network engineers, I realize that there are far better solutions for wireless access available than just this... however the Open Mesh
system seems best for the purposes of creating a far-reaching, public, ad hoc network. The network isn't vendor locked, the code is freely available,
the gear to run it is very cheap (as little as $25!), and it works.
Now, if you are building out a commercial/enterprise wireless network, I recommend you take a look at Ruckus Wireless. They have some new technology
that is turning heads and causing a stir in the wireless industry.
edit on 13-2-2011 by DamaSan because: (no reason given)
on 13-2-2011 by DamaSan because: (no reason given)