Mesh Potatos and OLPCs?

John Gilmore gnu at
Wed Mar 23 19:38:27 EDT 2011

Has anyone used the "Mesh Potato" devices from to
provide mesh connectivity to a network of OLPCs?

Eben Moglen's "Freedom Box" mailing list has been exploring whether to
include mesh in their boxes.  My experience with OLPC's mesh has led
me to question the risk/reward payoff of doing wireless mesh, though I
think a wired mesh of Ethernet cables could be very interesting.  But
others have turned up who are building wireless meshes, who claim to be
making them work in production.

Here's one such, the "Mesh Potato" from
It's a $119 (retail) box with 802.11b/g and a wired phone jack, plus
Ethernet.  It meshes over 802.11, provides an access point, and lets
you make phone calls to other Mesh Potatos or any SIP phone reachable
on the net.  It is open hardware, runs open software, and is designed
to live outdoors and run on rough rural power.  It unfortunately needs
detailed sysadmin with Linux shell commands now.  This 1-minute
embedded YouTube video explains their goals:

I've edited the enclosed message down to the relevant part:

  Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 14:51:59 -0500
  From: Charles N Wyble <charles at>
  To: freedombox-discuss at
  List-Archive: <>

  On 3/20/2011 8:44 AM, James Vasile wrote:
  > Meshing is hard.  Nobody I met knows anybody who is nailing mesh
  > networks.  I'm going to get all the mesh heads together soon for a
  > real conversation to see if we can work towards a recommendation on
  > the most promising avenue.

  Um.... *waves*.  I guess I need to get out more. I've built a few mesh
  networks over the past year. It's not that hard (it used to be quite
  difficult, but the underlying bits have really matured).  Us mesh
  heads hang out at and a few other places (, :) We have an annual gathering already,

  Join the mailing list and say hi. Mesh is moving along, slowly and
  steadily.  Mesh is the underpinning of an open network. Open networks
  are the underpinning of everything else.

  I feel that mesh networks have reached the point of maturity, that
  they can stand on their own. I feel they are readily and rapidly
  deployable (plug and play) due to the work of

Has OLPC seen these before?  If so, what's your experience?


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