Q1 Who are you people?
We’re just folk. Members of the community here in Buffalo and WNY who are looking to build a wide-area, distributed, and self-healing mesh data network, open to all.
Q2 Is this a competitor to TWC/FiOS/etc?
At this time, no. The goal of the mesh network is to make the internet better, and hyper-local.
Q3 This is stupid because it doesn’t provide internet!
Not a question, but we don’t feel it’s stupid to provide a data network that serves the interest of the community first, and foremost; that also allows all members of the network to act in a completely self-determined manner. If a member on the mesh would like to provide internet access to the mesh, they are free to do so.
Q4 What speeds can we get?
Tricky question. A benefit and detriment to the network is that things closer to you physically are faster. This has the effect of making the mesh hyperlocal, but also means the more hops it takes, the slower it’ll be. So, for things in your neighborhood, it’ll probably be very fast. Things on the other side of the city? Likely not as fast, but we’re still working on this network, so we really don’t know.
Q5 So, are you going to spy on me?
In reality, every network you connect your computer to should be completely un-trusted. However, due to the decentralization of this network’s ownership, spying on a person would be a very difficult thing to accomplish.
Q6 Who, who owns/runs this network?
Short answer: Many people do. Individual node’s are owned by a specific individual(s)/group. So, the long answer would be: It depends on what node you are connecting to. We are working on a mapping system that will show you nodes, and the primary point of contact for that node/network.
Q7 Ok, so I want to help! Let me at it!
Well great! There’s many ways you can help. We need web site developers to help with the site, hands to install nodes, node owners, people to talk to neighbors, and a host of other skill sets. We will never turn away help. The best way to offer your assistance and get involved is to attend our meetups (Future meet up details here, past meet up details here), or join our discussion group and let us know you’re interested. Of course, you can always email us a email@example.com
Q8 When will you expand into my neighborhood?
Short answer: We’re not sure. Long answer: It depends on many factors. If you are really wanting to see this happen, you can purchase hardware (~$50US) and install a node yourself. We’ll be happy to get you going, and help you out. This project is largely a series of barn-raisings. We help node operators with installation, configuration, and maintenance. For suggestions on hardware, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you on the right path. If you want to help us guage interest in your area, fill this survey.
Q9 Where/When do you people meet up at to discuss things?
We meet up on the first Friday of each month, at 6:30PM at The Foundry to discuss administrative items. It is still open to anyone interested in attending. Technology discussions will be at a minimum. However, we also meet up at The Foundry the Second Saturday of each month to work on hardware installations, and to meet with members of the public. All are welcome to attend!
Q10 Why aren’t you using Technology X in your mesh network?!?!?!
A1: Well, we have to balance a number constraints in the network. Reliability and low maintenance are key areas we need to focus on. Many technologies, while exciting, are still nascent and we feel it is not time yet to use that technology.
A2: The other very possible answer is: We’ve never heard of it/don’t have experience with it. We’re more than happy to hear about technologies that would serve our goal in a much better fashion.