Connecting Communities Through Wireless Networks
The community wireless networks in Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights are organized by neighborhood residents. These networks can help people communicate with neighbors, use local services like community TV and radio stations, and share the cost of an Internet connection. The infrastructure consists of Wi-Fi routers on rooftops that form a network supported by social relationships in the neighborhood. The network’s infrastructure is owned and shared by residents as a resource for the community. Residents participate in these networks as Neighborlinks through a variety of roles, such as hosting a router on their rooftop, sharing Internet bandwidth, creating local content for the network.
The vision for the network is to use existing resources, including skills in the neighborhood, to leverage our social relationships into improving everyone’s access to modern communications. The networks are organized according to the principles of digital justice - access, participation, common ownership, and healthy communities.The rooftop wireless devices are routers with a “mesh” feature that allows every device to send and receive its own messages while also passing along data for others. If you attach one to a chimney or other structure on the roof, it can connect with other routers blocks away, as long as they’re mounted high enough. Then, any Wi-Fi enabled device, like a laptop or cell phone, can access the network just like in a public building or coffee shop.
Websites coming soon!
Funded by Washington, DC (August 2012)