What we're about
Who should join?
People with some interest in configuring, deploying, testing, comparing, and evangelizing mesh network technology. Also, people interested in this aspect of disaster preparedness. (Digital communication when centralized ISPs are wiped out by hurricane, EMP, terrorism, flood, etc.)
Why should you join?
Join this group if you want to connect to a Chantilly mesh network, learn about mesh networking, work on ways to make mesh networking "just work out of the box" for non technical users, go door to door evangelizing for the Chantilly mesh, or discuss ways to make your mesh equipment "off the grid" ready.
What will we do?
Bring your laptop and/or routers to meetings and get them connected! Get people between you and the mesh connected, so you can be connected at home! Help make a DIY mesh router a no brainer for non-techies. Show and tell mesh applications, nifty router hardware and antennae, EMP bags for electronics, battery systems, treadle and bicycle generators, business models that incorporate mesh networking. Currently, Chantilly Mesh has ESSID chantilly-mesh on channel 1 with no encryption and uses the BATMAN-ADV routing protocol.
Why a meetup?
The primary hurdle to mesh networking is social not, technical. You have to actually meet people and give them reasons why they might want to join.
We have the technology. Your Wi-fi devices can see similar devices in your neighbors' houses. Nearly all of them are closed, centralized Wi-fi Access Points. Imagine that instead, all your neighbors ran mesh software on their Wi-fi routers, so that the entire neighborhood was connected, and you could connect to your home (or ping a neighbor's home) from anywhere in the neighborhood. The technology is here, and is cheap (free and open source, even). But aside from tech enthusiasts like us, what is in it for most residents? Why should they run such software? Will a firewall between the mesh and any private network at their house be automatic and trivial for a non-technical user to configure? Are they protected from legal liability when joining an open Wi-fi network?
These are the goals that I think might get people to try it out. An open source router to give it a try without messing with their current network is $25.
• Connect to the internet through their own home router from anywhere in the neighborhood and nearby parks. Access to their home internet is password protected since most non-business ISP customers agreed not to share.
• Connect to the internet through public Wi-fi access points provided by ISP companies like Cox from anywhere in the neighborhood (even out of range of the AP - since these APs grant access by MAC, the connection would be bridged).
• Connect to other devices in their home from anywhere in the neighborhood.
• Provide an example of alternative last mile access.
• Provide redundancy to ISP connections that can be critical in emergencies.
• Applications involving home to home connections, like network games, would require more expertise to configure securely.