Meraki Madness

By Lachlan Hardy
0818h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

It seems that my last post has stirred the pot a little.

I’m now taking orders for folks who want to get this hardware to Sydney and Melbourne and split the shipping costs. Myles Eftos is doing the same for anybody who wants them sent to Perth. I’ll happily split out the Melbourne orders if we get enough. At the moment Melbournites have ordered around 8 and I have orders for over 20 in Sydney.

This is kind of response is incredibly cool. It’s also been cool to get all the questions. Here’s some answers:

No . You cannot automatically specify a download limit on users on your free public tier.

You can specify a speed limitation on the free public tier and you can ban any user you like. So you can remove the hogs after the fact, but you can’t prevent them.

Let me follow that by saying that we have offered freely available wifi to anybody within range for the last 6 months. In that time we’ve had 32 users. Around 20 are regular users. We never even came close to hitting our old limit of 10Gb, let alone our new one of 20Gb (except when I left Azureus open too long…)

A few further points need to be made. Yes, the Standard Edition has a little toolbar at the top of the free public tier that can’t be turned off. Yes, I also think that sucks, but I use my private tier at home, which has no toolbar. Standard edition offers you both tiers, so while you’re on your own network you won’t have it.

Lastly, I’ve made a big deal out of this. I’ve recommended it to all of you, and you’re buying these little bits of kit on the basis of that recommendation. That’s a little scary and I don’t want to fuck up.

But I might. I don’t work for Meraki. I have no affiliate relationship with them. I’m getting no cash out of placing these orders. I’m doing this because I believe it represents an opportunity for people to claim some space. For us to wrest a little more control from the powers-that-be.

Meraki may not be the answer. They may turn out to be money-grubbing opportunists who try to squeeze us for more cash or make changes we don’t like (no offense to the folks there if they’re reading this, I’m sure you’re lovely - this is hypothetical). If Meraki isn’t it, the network will route around it. We’ll all use FON or Whisher or Terranet or who knows what else is around the corner.

Don’t tell me you’re the only person in your neighbourhood who’ll use this. Unless you are the only person within miles, there is somebody else nearby who will use and appreciate free wifi.

The important part is that we’re all here pushing to make this change. And the more people we convince, the more powerful we will be. Buy the gear. Use it. Tell your friends about it. Post it somewhere. Email your user groups. Flickr them when you set them up. Blog it. Twitter it. Sell it.

We’re talking about cultural change. Culture is big and hard to steer. It takes effort. So if you like these ideas, if you want this to happen, you have to make it happen.

Imagine if every member of the Web Standards Group bought some of these. Or every member of RORO . Or every member of the PHP user groups, the UPA, the Python krewe, the Beer 2.0 posse, the .NET folks, AWIA, WIPA, and all the Webjammers.

I’m stupidly excited about this because I can see so much potential, but that’s only going to be achieved if we all drive it. So let’s do it. Let’s free the net!


There are 22 comments on this post.

Kevin Yank
0906h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

If you wanted to push this further, I’m sure John and Maxine wouldn’t mind plugging this bulk order opportunity on the Web Directions blog…

Lucas Chan
0908h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

Big ups for making noise about this Lachlan.

Don’t worry about this backfiring and people getting narky with you. If anyone does they need to harden the fuck up or stop being an early adopter.

If one really decides that Meraki is not for them just flick the switch and recover some of the costs on eBay or something. Simple.


0909h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

Shame just missed out on the last Canberra WSG meet, but I’ll be sure to make sure it gets a mention at the next one!

0938h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

Thanks Lachlan for making the noise.

I’ve ordered 4, not because I need 4, but so that I can use 2 and hand 1 or 2 to a neighbour.

We are going to be one of the 1st houses in a new development soon and this seems to be a perfect application of the Merakis: make friends with the new neighbours by giving them free wifi internet!

A couple of outdoor models in the future to provide access in the public parks and spaces, and instant wifi neighbourhood here we come.

Lachlan Hardy
0941h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

@Kevin Good idea! And what about SitePoint, eh? Or, indeed, your personal blog ;)

@Lucas I’m not complaining. I just wanted to point out that I don’t have all the answers. None of us have ever done this before, so there are bound to be some issues. It’s about recognising that, preparing for it and fighting on.

Meraki are a means to an end. There are others, I just happen to think they’re our best bet right now

@Nat I’ll be bringing it up tomorrow night at the Sydney meet for sure

0954h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

What do you think about the idea of devising a user friendly name that we all use for the network?

Something that helps people identify ‘the movement’ and clearly labels it as free and for the community. Would this help people to realise you’re sharing for the greater good and that they’re not just leaching free wifi off a noobie set up… Would that in some small way help to raise awareness?

1121h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

@Lisa Not sure I understand your suggestion fully, but I believe the default SSID of the public-tier network is “freethenet” …

Matthew Hall
1217h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

We’re jumping in Lach Stock and Two Smoking Merakis. Yes this is frontier work. Yes it is scary. Yes your ISP might not appreciate you sharing.

All that is what makes it fun.

This really is our opportunity to bootstrap Sydney (and Melbourne, Perth, c’mon the rest of you!) into the free wifi we all want but haven’t been able to find so far.

Remember - networks are exponentially more useful with each additional user!

1247h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink


Ah, thanks, of course it is. I Knew that. bad memory!

Gary Barber
1258h Wednesday, 17 October 2007 Permalink

After I get my 2 nodes in place, I looking at trying to at least connect up the local suburb. Maybe a little line of sight boosting the signal between nodes with a third party antenna. Everyone I have spoken to about this is very excited. As expected they don’t want to be first.

1016h Monday, 22 October 2007 Permalink

Gary, same idea here; run it for a bit - then do a leaflet drop for 100 metres around my house … then try and get other people to get in on it with their own nodes. Being the only 2-storey house for a couple of hundred metres is going to be an advantage here!!

Lachlan Hardy
1445h Wednesday, 24 October 2007 Permalink

I’m glad to see everybody so fired up! :)

I put in an order for 26 Indoor and 5 Outdoor yesterday, so there will be plenty of folks in Melbourne and Sydney playing with them soon.

It’s going to be really interesting to see where this takes us!

Ashul Shah
1217h Saturday, 27 October 2007 Permalink

Great initiative, I will ask Myles if we can get a couple for our office in West Perth and home as well - but will be interested to see how they work and if they are all sold out - will be up for a round 2 after all of you have tested and have the answers.


John Scheermeijer
2126h Monday, 26 November 2007 Permalink

Hi Lachlan,

I’ve had a small Meraki mesh (27 users) operating for about 3 months (see: But now I’ve dismantled it and I’d like to sell the two minis.

These are Legacy Edition minis which means that they are same same as the latest Pro Edition but without the annoying Message Bar etc. That’s the advantage. The disadvantage is that they have EU power packs. This means that although the Voltage is OK you need EU to Aussie plug adaptors.

Would you know anyone wanting to buy them at cost price plus postage?



John Scheermeijer
0609h Tuesday, 27 November 2007 Permalink

Hi Lachlan, Please disregard my previous message. I’ve found a buyer. Ciao, John.

Michael Specht
2125h Wednesday, 19 December 2007 Permalink

It would be interesting to get stat’s from others running meraki networks in Oz. Wondering what sort of take up they have had, traffic usage, number of users etc.

Got my network going this evening & had my first user within 30mins, they did about 20mb traffic over the next 2 hours and disappeared. Very happy.

Lachlan Hardy
1502h Thursday, 20 December 2007 Permalink

Wasn’t there a wiki somewhere? If not, we should set it up and share some data!

2023h Friday, 11 January 2008 Permalink

The Canadian FreeTheNet guys in Vancouver are open sourcing a new flash OS for the Merakis that does away with the toolbar (and the need to link to Meraki HQ). Version 1.0 as about 2 days ago:

1816h Thursday, 31 January 2008 Permalink

Lachlan - any chance of another group buy in the near future?

2042h Wednesday, 27 February 2008 Permalink

Hi how do I get in contact with the Melbourne group , I am in the North Fitzroy area and am hoping there is a network I can be part of.


1810h Friday, 26 December 2008 Permalink

Yeah sounds good. I thinking of blanketing a small town (pop 3000). Im in. if this things still going?

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