LibreRouter: Bringing Simple, Affordable Mesh Networks to Rural Communities

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Rural communities struggle with internet connectivity due to fewer routers, cell towers, and wireless infrastructure than is available in urban areas. However, there’s a solution in the works by LibreRouter, which is a hardware and software project that aims to enable rural communities to build their own modern, robust mesh networks to make the most of their limited connectivity.

The goal, according to LibreRouter’s Nicolás Pace, is to make mesh networks affordable, robust, scalable and simple to operate. 

The company has already tested the software in rural communities in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, and Canada.

TechCrunch reported that LibreRouter, and LibreMesh, the software that runs on it, want to bring a signal to the people via a mesh network, especially in cases where a satellite or wired connection terminates at one point. The problem, however, is the people who need to use it do not live nearby but well outside the hundred feet or so you can expect a WiFi signal to travel.

LibreRouter has designed the router itself to be modern and powerful, but easy to repair with normal tools and off-the-shelf parts; the software won’t quite be one-click simple, but it should automate many of the harder parts of configuring a mesh. The range on them is in the kilometers rather than meters, so these can really connect quite a large area, reported TechCrunch.

The company has a working prototype, built on an open source platform, and there’s enough interest, Pace said, that they might ship as many as 2,500 of the devices over the next couple of years, once the design is finalized.

December 21, 2018

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