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Meeting Notes - April 18, 2016
U of T


  1. Intros
  2. Vision
  3. Roadmap
  4. Breakout Groups
    • Website Content
    • Maker Proposal


  • We will use voting in this meeting:
    • Thumbs up: go ahead, care about the issue and happy with direction
    • Closed fist: "no-block"
    • Thumbs down: needs more discussion, feel strongly enough to block


  • Went around and everyone gave a brief intro
    • If people would like to add in their name for the meeting minutes they were asked to add it to the Meeting Agenda Pad
  • Got at status update, our current approach has been two-pronged:
    • Developing vision and establishing a direction for the project
    • Prototyping hardware
  • Wanting an open process, documenting as we go, to make information available for people looking up details and wanting to participate
  • Think about preliminary outreach to other Mesh organizations (Seattle, NYC, Detroit)


  • Discussion Looked at the Brainstorming Gdoc
  • Original framing "Internet infrastructure = invisible": Agency, Autonomy, Tech literacy
  • Internet infrastructure is invisible to most of its users, resulting in end users not having:
    • For some users: internet is a utility
    • Some will see infrastructure as a barrier of entry
    • Root problem: People are inclined to not understand how the internet works
    • How to make avenues for understanding, and approaching infrastructure
  • Question: Are we going for something completely transparent?
    • Show something that is not legally binding, friendly safe
    • Accountability: Make clear known risks
    • Ref: Sao Paulo air quality network and resident participation
    • Possible frame of "How we operate" or "How do we build a sustainable community"
      • POV: like to know packet journey; what is being tracked, where is data going?
    • What we are building: no centeralized ISP
  • New theme: resiliency, redundancy, de-centeralized systems over single points of failure. Negative attributes: latency, potentially
    • Resilience, and redundancy also an issue we are interested in (Voted)
    • Use case: catastrophes, Blackout scenarios
    • Alternative to a HAM radio network
    • Solar power alternatives
  • High speed access: Are people are most interested in free public access (Voted)
    • Vote: Main concern is not access (Voted)
    • Not the first consideration, but that doesn't mean are they mutually exclusive
    • Ref: Toronto Star "What became of Toronto’s push for free public Wi-Fi?"
      • Paid for by BIA (in most cases, downtown London)
      • Montreal: Not for profit wireless group, part funded by the city
      • Involve City Council
      • Wireless Toronto: Funding is possible (needs more investigating)
    • Is this project mutually exclusive with providing high speed access? No!
      • The mesh can hook into an established, provided for (BIA), infrastructure
  • Reference to Network Types Diagram by Paul Baran
  • Provide access to high-speed Internet
    • Are we providing the tools to start a network? or access to an existing network?
    • Original intent: Mesh net is available, anyone is able to access (access to the internet), and look at the process (and source code) or how we've gotten access
    • Internet as utility
      • Cost, infrastructure: Mesh would help in costs
      • High speed is not guaranteed, mesh networks not the right intervention to Internet as a utility (Governance is a better way)
    • Long-term goal is high speed through the mesh (is changing)
      • Professional hardware is more available to consumers
      • BIA, City issue: centralized decision-making
  • Aside: Communication scenario where there is no power using something like VOIP
    • To what degree is some central piece needed?
    • Layer on top of pre-existing infrastructure can exist side-by-side
    • Solar charged batteries (self sustaining)
  • We can't have a completely free mesh net (electrical, shared paid infrastructure, solar panels)
  • After a lot of discussion we circled back to access. Decided access is #1, with everything as a sub-point, settled on a vision! (Voted)
  • Possible vision statement: Advancing mesh technology...
  • Possible vision statement: We're going to build a network that provides access to the internet as well as affords people autonomy

Vision Statement

We are going to build an infrastructure that gives users:

  • agency to make important decisions about their privacy
  • autonomy to access information in an uncontrolled/free manner
  • opportunity to develop technical literacies
  • a resilient and redundant network
  • open, lower-cost access to the World Wide Web

...In order to address the fact that Internet infrastructure is a black-box to most of its users.


  • Potential events: last week we looked at Maker Festival (TPL, proposal booth), HOPE: outreach and other projects
  • Maker Festival:
    • Workshop, booth: place to chat, voice calls over the mesh
    • Way to build engagement: interactive (gamify), exhibit (interesting to look at)
      • Role-play (game to teach networking concepts)
        • Ingrid Burringtons' workshop materials as reference
      • Exhibit ideas:
        • LEDs light up to show packet travel. Consider families interaction
        • Water flow diagram to show networking concepts
        • Cool app deployment (game, chat)
        • Trading zone (barter network, physical network via mesh network)
    • Leading proposal writing and submission (April 30): Udit, Ben, Dawn
    • End of May: Validation of tech (Prototype Developed)
    • Mid-June: Working version will be ready for deployment (Mesh Prototype Validated)
  • Website:
    • Deadline for Maker Faire submission (needed for submission)
  • HOPE:
    • Connect with NYCMesh

Working Groups

  • Software: Garry, Ben
  • Use Cases for the Mesh: Udit, Ben, Garry
  • Hardware: Ben, Udit, Dawn
  • Outreach: Vince, Ben
  • Literacy Dev: Yuri, Matt
  • Design: Matt
  • Knowledge Management: Matt, Dawn
  • Website: Dawn, Matt, Garry


  • Submit a proposal for Maker Festival, April 30 deadline: Udit, Ben, Dawn
  • Working groups were created
  • Decided to schedule a recap session in July
    • Agenda so far: Plan for next 6 months and recap the previous 4 months
    • Time and place TBD