[Battlemesh] Open Router Alternatives (Was: Chilling effect - Lockdown (FCC/EU))

Valent Turkovic valent at otvorenamreza.org
Mon Mar 14 14:16:09 CET 2016

On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 1:42 PM, fboehm <fboehm at aon.at> wrote:

> Am 18.02.2016 um 11:43 schrieb Linus L├╝ssing:
>> On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 10:44:34AM +0100, Bastian Bittorf wrote:
>>> generally speaking we need an OpenHardware design
>>> for indoor 2.4/5GHz and outdoor 2.4 and outdoor 5GHz
>>> with "standard" antenna connectors (RP-SMA/N)
>> Was posted on the Freifunk WLANware mailinglist some months ago,
>> a promising crowd-funded, open router:
>> https://omnia.turris.cz/en/
>> so first there is an design needed and so we need
>>> to crowdfound the developement of the open design
>>> and the approval (FCC and EU).
>> For the Omnia Turris, no FCC/ETSI approval needed: The board
>> itself has no radios but miniPCIe slots instead :).
>> Unfortunately, they are more expensive of course... with two
>> miniPCIe radio cards and a case they would cost about 150 USD.
>> So "economically speaking", you can build maybe only five
>> to seven times smaller community mesh networks as compared to
>> ~20 USD routers.
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>> Battlemesh at ml.ninux.org
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>> Turris is definitely interesting. Unfortunately the whole product seems
> to follow the jack-of-all-trades design. Like most electronic products
> these days. I'm honestly not a big fan of this concept.
> A basic ath9k PCIe card costs in bulk quantities (1k) around 10USD. Maybe
> as low as 5USD if you plan to buy a million in total.
> Market ready products based on MT7621 (without WiFi) are sold for about
> 50USD. That includes software, housing, power supply, packaging and
> "brand-value". In this respect a OEM board with zero software and zero
> support should be doable for USD50 as well. Plus a PCIe card and pigtails
> to have a similar feature set as a TP-Link router.
> Has somebody ever considered opening an OpenWRT shop for such barebone
> products? If yes, please let me know.
> Franz

Doing hardware is hard... so people really need to be highly motivated to
do so... one motivation is paying, and other is bragging rights.

Are there talented people in Freifunk/Battlemesh/other comunity networks
with electronics and RF skills? Probably there are... but how to motivate
them to work really hard on such hard problem of developing new wifi router
board? This takes resources... probably in tens od thousands of
euros/dollars...  who would fund this? Maybe doing a crowdfunding?

50$ seams to us like high ammount, but when you know how much money, time
and people resources is needed to make one board then you see that you
can't make board for 50$ unless you know you will have order of 100,000
pieces... then logistics of shipping it is also a nightmare, or you pay
others to do logistics and that raises the price of final product even

If somebody would build a device with these speifications I would order 10
boards right now, and then after testing it if works out ok another 1000
pieces for MeshPoint (www.meshpoint.me):

These are specs and features I would like to see
- Atheros based
- 2.4Ghz dual chain 300Mbps 802.11n
- uFL connectors on PCB for external antennas
- powered via passive POE or standard DC plug (12-24V)
- one wan port and two or four lan ports (better only two, so board has
smaller footprint)
- USB 2.0 port
- exposed GPIO and uart serial pins
- shielded radio
- FCC and EU certified
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