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Andrius Kulikauskas Self Learners Network. Think Through Art with Andrius Kulikauskas. Directory of ways of figuring things out. Chicago Street Artist Blog. Video summary of knowledge of everything. Notes on Gamestorming. Living by Truth working group. Twitter: @selflearners Email: ms @ ms.lt
Edward Cherlin Earth Treasury
Kennedy Owino Nafsi Afrika Acrobats
Ben de Vries
Samwel Kongere Mendenyo
George Christian Jeyaraj
Lucas Gonzalez Santa Cruz
Christine Ax, Steve Bonzak, James Ferguson, Maria Agnese Giraudo, Marcin Jakubowski, Ed Jonas, Rick Nelson, Hannington Onyango, Linas Plankis, Proscoviour Vunyiwa
Andrius helped with the following websites:
See also: InternetAccess, FlashDriveEditor
I am here shortly and hope to get our concern about the community wireless internet access points in Rusinga Island. This has been our goal and hope for decades. We are still going nearer to accomplishing this goal here in Mbita and hence Rusinga. the already established structure of ICT with few computers here is going to be our bench mark for further support to realize the goal for community network.
Our major block is InternetAccess. Why?
Mbita has a private and only one ISP with a lot of restrictions and many community members eager to gather information could not get access to and it doesn't allow other connections.It is therefore hope to create space for internet and community wireless connections from this center. An idea of having cyber cafe here is good and can generate income. The majority of the rural Kenya are eager to share with the rest of the world and How? We specific approaches to the Community Wireless internet connection.
The idea brought from our Open lab Minciu Sodas is great and the struggle for Information Continues.I am committed and my local partners are now joining me in this Idea. Sam, August 14, 2007
Please see my comments at the end.
My first set of questions to Meraki
From: ricardo  Sent: Monday, September 24, 2007 11:55 PM To: Meraki Wi-Fi Sales Subject: Using Meraki Wi-i Equipment without internet access
Hi a friend of mine in Kenya , East Africa , is hoping to build a community Wi-Fi network. The Meraki system looks ideal, due to the simplicity, ease of administration and low-cost. However, internet access won't be available for a year or two via a public ISP, so could you tell me please...
1. Can the Meraki equipment be used without an internet connection?
2. What features would be missing?
3. Does the dashboard for administering the system depend on the internet (is it web-based)?
4. Roughly how much will the solar outdoor repeater cost?
5. My friend in Kenya wants to link 5 access points on an island, each about 2KM from each other. Would it be best to use long-range antennas between each one or use several Meraki Outdoor repeaters with the supplied antennas to link them in short hops of one or two hundred metres?
Also, I discussed these points on an internet forum and I got some comments from Sanjit Biswas, one of the co-founders of Meraki. I wondered whether you could tell me whether this is right please and whether the sales team would offer the same advice...
Gary A. Bolles, President of Microcast Communications wrote...
We write regularly about companies like Meraki on our MuniWireless.com site, and Sanjit Biswas, one of Meraki's co- founders, has offered the following responses. I hope this is helpful. Sanjit suggests following up with email questions to the sales support team at Meraki....
Q: Can you connect PCs to the network with any make of USB 802.11g Wi-Fi Adaptor?
A: Yes - any 802.11b/g adaptor will work, and we've see our customers use a large variety of USB adaptors. Another common configuration is to plug legacy PCs directly into the Ethernet port on the Mini or Outdoor, since the port automatically becomes a router when it's not a gateway.
Q: Is there any particular 3rd party antenna you would recommend for 8Km range?
A: I recommend contacting Streakwave (www.streakwave.com<http://www.streakwave.com/) and talking with one of their antenna sales guys. At 8km you'll need to use a directional antenna, such as a 24dBi grid, Backfire or potentially a Yagi. Customers have reported 2-4km using omni directional antennas and line of sight.
Q: Roughly how much will the solar repeater cost?
A: Pricing is not finalized yet, as different parts of the world have different panel/battery requirements. We expect the initial configuration will cover a large geography, and that it will be in the $500 range, but we are working on other lower-cost options.
Q: Can it work without an internet connection?
A: The system assumes a working Internet connection, but we have customers who build networks behind VSAT and other intermittent links. You'll need to turn off user authentication, since that relies on our hosted backend, but the network should work in general. If you have a specific topology in mind, please let us know, so we can design for similar situations in the future...
Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.
---Response from Meraki---
Thanks for your interest, and I apologize for the delay in response. Meraki products do not operate without an Internet connection somewhere on the network. We do not have pricing information for the Solar product yet, but stay tuned by signing up at http://meraki.com/oursolution/hardware/solar. The information provided by our CEO Sanjit is very accurate, and I'd recommend following all the advice there. Note that our product offering has changed recently, and you can read more at http://meraki.com. We look forward to providing a wireless solution to suit your needs.
My second set of questions to Meraki
From: ricardo  Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 11:59 AM To: Meraki Wi-Fi Sales Subject: Some questions
Do you ship to Kenya ?
If I order using a UK Mastercard, can you ship the equipment to an address in Kenya ?
Are the Indoor and Outdoor repeaters licensed for use in Kenya ?
(I think Kenya uses the ETSI Regulatory system, the same as the European Union, not the FCC system used in the USA ).
Replay from Meraki
Ricardo, We can ship to Kenya . Place an order today at http://store.meraki.com using your Mastercard. The products are CE certified for international use, but do not have any certifications specific to Kenya . The CE certification is valid in the EU.
My comments on the replies
I'm happy with the replies, so we may use Meraki equipment in Rusinga Island.
The sales team are saying that the equipment won't work without an internet connection, which means it can't be used for a local network. We should be able to get internet access in Rusinga Island, but it would have been nice if it worked offline, so people could use it for a local wi-fi network with local email and websites, like a company intranet.
I mentioned before on Mendenyo that the Meraki Wi-Fi system (hardware, software and net-based service) is designed for `Community Wi-Fi Systems'. You just plug it into the internet, turn it on and it auto-configures itself into a network. This makes it much easier to use without a lot of network experience.
Although Matt Estrada couldn't say definitely whether the equipment is licensed for use in Kenya (for electromagnetic interference), I don't think there's a problem. Everything I've read about Kenya regulations suggests they use the same regulations as the European Union. Hopefully, Kenyan customs won't stop it being imported.
It's good that Meraki can ship equipment straight to Kenya. Presumably, they can also ship to other African countries.
Sam and I need to get internet-access up and running first, then we can try some Meraki Wi-Fi equipment as a single Wi-Fi hotspot, for a start. If that's okay, we'll extend the network to the 5 access- points, using long-distance directional Wi-Fi antennas and more Meraki Wi-Fi repeater boxes.
For the initial hotspot, we'll probably have one Meraki Wi-Fi repeater connected to the internet and 2 others some distance away to form a small network. Each desktop computer or laptop then needs a Wi-Fi 802.11g adapter to connect to the network. Plug-in USB Wi-Fi adapters are cheap, at about $20, or we can fit PCI or PCMCIA Wi-Fi cards. Printers, etc, can either connect via Wi-Fi or ethernet.
If it works okay in Rusinga Island, then other groups may want to set up a Community Wi-Fi network or single Wi-Fi Hotspot, Internet Cafe or Computer Base using this equipment. For example in Kibera, Nairobi or somewhere in Tanzania or Uganda.
Ricardo (England) 11-Oct-2007