Sunday, September 09, 2007

Meraki and Free Internet Access

I'm a huge believer in Free, and it's one of the things I like the most about cool technologies. I especially like it when a company or idea lets people (strangers) come together, pool their resources, and make things free - especially things like free Internet access.

I wish I could remember how I first found about Meraki, but looking back I think it must a post in Engadget or GigaOm or something. Either way, my interest led me to Meraki's website, which had a great map that showed I wasn't getting Free Internet in my Russian Hill Neighborhood. Nevertheless, still inspired by their idea to share part of your bandwidth, I gave them my address and pretty quickly forgot about them.

Then, yesterday I received a package in the mail. Two packages, actually - one containing a little mini-router, and one containing a CAT-5 cable. Setting it up was seriously the easiest thing I've ever done. The hardest part was finding a spare power outlet next to my router and everything - after that, you just plug it into the router.

Shortly after plugging it in, a "Free the Net" connection popped up in my wireless list. What surprised me the most was that I actually see a stronger connection to the Meraki router than my own Linksys. Granted, mine is two years old, but we had paid quite a bit for it then...

Apparently Meraki will start allowing people to charge for access to the mini-wireless mesh networks they set up. Which is sorta cool, since people can essentially resell their own Internet connections by setting up a few repeaters around the neighborhood (only one needs to actually be connected).

Nothing makes our lives better than free, ubiquitous access to information and the Internet, which is why I am happy to be doing my part. It'd be really interesting to see some innovative entrepreneurs start finding ways to make money off Meraki. Because it's clear that the government's not going to set up free, ever-present Internet in San Francisco for us. So we get to do it ourselves!

1 comment:

tonyleachsf said...

Just a little update - looks like my download speeds off my Meraki router are faster than they are at my office, plugged in directly to the network...