We’re not talking about cheap wireless broadband, a special offer or a wireless broadband deal here, we’re talking about FREE Wireless Broadband! Log in and share wireless broadband internet for free. Get a free Wi-Fi connection and while you’re there, build you’re own public wi-fi hotspot too! This appears to be the case with grassroots free wireless networks in major Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne & Canberra already up and running according to this latest SMH ‘Innovator’ blog and SMH wireless & broadband article.

Others could log in and share the wireless connection for free, effectively creating free community internet access.

Known as Sydney Free Wireless, the group is using cheap mesh network technology from a Google-backed US start-up called Meraki to start a network of free neighbourhood wi-fi hot spots and promote such services through a grassroots campaign. Jean-Jacques Halans, a web developer who created and maintains the group’s website, says the network “grew from a Facebook group, which grew from a presentation by Mark Pesce”.  

This is how it works: link at least two Meraki Mini devices together, which retail for $US49 each, and they will eventually find an internet connection. Connectivity is passed between the two nodes, effectively creating a wireless network. Others can log into and use that wireless connection for free.

Meraki’s mission is “to bring affordable internet access to the next billion people”.

A basic wireless repeater cost $US49, $99 gets an outdoor version with optional power-over-ethernet support, and there’s even a solar-powered version in the works.
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