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Start Date 2007-05-11 09:21:43 |Comments 20 |Entries 4 |Images 2 |Videos 1 |

Category: wireless

05/21/07 09:52 - ID#39360

Buffalo Community Wireless Network

Who isn't interested in free internet? Recently I've been studying the efforts of community wireless networks in Seattle and Portland and decided to start a similar project in Buffalo. Community wireless networks are grassroots, not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to the advocacy of broadly available Internet access. In Seattle and Portland, they have helped lots of businesses and individuals to set up access points where people share their Internet access to passers-by and customers (legally, of course).

Personal Telco ( the community wireless group in Portland) uses as their mission statement, "To promote and build public wireless networks through community support and education." I think that this kind of project can also thrive in Buffalo, benefiting the community by bringing cheap or free Internet access to the region while creating a group that facilitates education about technology and open-source software. I also think that the Elmwood strip area is an ideal place to start promoting our project as we set up our first network.

The reason for this is that community wireless networks have as their core component what is called a "mesh" network. A mesh network contains a set of wireless connections between buildings and residences. Because of the kind of community that already exists in the Elmwood strip area, and the proximity of homes and businesses where people are likely to be interested in the Internet access that we would provide, I decided to target this area for the construction of our first network.

In Portland, one of the primary nodes sits on top of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and connects to surrounding buildings. I would like a wireless network to be set up that covers the Elmwood strip region, perhaps stretching wirelessly from some of the taller rooftops in the strip, for example our local Unitarian Universalist Church, some other churches on the strip, and the Lexington co-operative market. After accomplishing this, we could easily expand our reach into the surrounding residential areas.

In order to make this possible, we need to find lots of individuals in the area who are interested in helping our project both technically (linux and wireless hackers especially welcome, and those interested in learning) and socially by reaching out to local residents and businesses on and near the "strip."

If you would like to sponsor a node, or if you have connections with people who may be interested in the project (think of your friends who own buildings with high rooftops in the Elmwood Strip area!), check out our web site. Currently we have an email list serve for discussion of our project, and a map of locations for potential nodes. Help us out and put your address on the map if you would consider helping, and encourage anyone else interested in the project to go to our web site and contact us with questions or comments. Thanks!
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