Mesh Potatos and OLPCs?

Peter Robinson pbrobinson at
Wed Mar 23 21:30:43 EDT 2011

On Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 11:38 PM, John Gilmore <gnu at> wrote:
> 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?

Meraki are also doing mesh related things with the APs etc.

Its my understanding (not that I've had much time to play) that mesh
has improved greatly over the last couple of years with developments
like BATMAN which is now in the 2.6.38 mainline kernel. I suspect pure
IPv6 might also assist with some of the problems seen with broadcast
on mesh networks as they get larger simply due to its lack of it.


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