Willowdale Mesh

A mesh network is a network where all participants can communicate with each other, with each participant cooperating with the transmission of information.

Although I can’t think of a practical application for myself, I think it would be fun to build, and I would like to start a wireless mesh network in Willowdale/North York.

Wouldn’t it be neat:

  • To have a wifi connection in Dempsey Park?
  • To build a network of wifi connections, allowing me to reach  friends beyond the range of wifi, at the other end of my street?
  • To connect to my car, 18 floors below me?
  • To connect to my home network in my laundry room?
  • To meet other people nearby who think this is neat?

Getting Started

To connect to the current mesh:

  • You need to add support for the CJDNS network protocol to your system
  • If you can see the tomesh wifi hotspot, you can connect over wifi with a wifi card which supports 802.11s.  Alternately, we can bridge the networks over the Internet – just send us an email.

The easiest way to connect to the mesh is to setup a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, with a TP-Link TL-WN722N USB wifi adapter, and install tomesh.net’s CJDNS prototype software, using ‘tomesh’ as the SSID for the wireless network.

Once you have successfully connected to the Willowdale Mesh, you should be able to view a status page at the following URL: http://[fceb:c499:c028:df7e:3748:a690:6e34:e27e] (note: this site is not accessible on the public Internet).

Contact

Join our group: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/willowdale-mesh
Email: willowdalemesh@hotelexistence.ca

Current State

There are currently 2 to 4 nodes on the Willowdale Mesh Network.

Willowdale Mesh Node Map
Willowdale Mesh Node Map

Avenues for Exploration and Experimentation

Given the low cost of data plans and inexpensive home Internet, outside of experimenting with mesh networks, there is little need, and likely little interest, in building out an isolated mesh network in the Willowdale.

It might be more interesting to build out a mesh network capable of easily delivering WiFi Internet access to all devices.  Such a network would almost certainly attract users, particularly in public areas such as Dempsey Park or Mel Lastman square.  Such a network would present interesting performance, logistical, legal, and financial challenges.

For this type of network, I have been looking into used routers from TP-Link, like the TL-WDR3600 or TL-WDR4300, running OpenWRT, using their 2.4 GHz radio as an access point, and the 5 GHz radio to mesh with the B.A.T.M.A.N. + BMX mesh software.