Mesh networks on OLPC: it's all about the application level

by Andy Oram

I went down to the Cambridge, Massachusetts lab of One Laptop Per Child today to find out what they're doing with mesh networks. This was a particularly appropriate day for a blog on OLPC, because today they're launching a fifteen-day-long purchasing opportunity called Give One Get One. You pay them for two of their brightly colored, impressively lightweight computers, and one goes to a child in a developing nation, while the other goes to you.

But the whole point of this blog is that a One Laptop Per Child system has limited value on its own. Its most innovative and powerful features lie in its participation in a mesh network with other laptops. So get your neighbors and workmates to buy them too!


2007-11-18 12:18:30
I think an important point that mesh brings in terms of advantageS over centralized infrastructure is the absence of strong control points.

As was said by John Gilmore: "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."

This can of course benefits groups who are off grid in the forest a a super multi-way radio system with geo location and whatnot... But also with the current trend of network (un)neutrality, it may prevent power grab in the long run that would save the network from becoming yet another push media. In big cities, an emergency network is automatically active and citizen driven too!

I'm only hoping that FOSS solution will converge or at least specialised themself so we can interoperate easily and have tablets, cell phones and OLPC like device talk the same language.

So many things would be possible with a battery powered decentralized internet, i can only dream of a mix of mesh, p2p and freenet like solutions... :-)

David Mackey
2007-11-18 15:27:33
Excellent article. I am fascinated by the idea of mesh networks.