Sydney Free Wireless group offers free Wi-Fi

While the NSW government has been talking about offering city-wide Wi-Fi for a while, one grassroots group stopped waiting and started to make it happen themselves. The Sydney Free Wireless group was written up in the SMH today. They've started setting up a free Wi-Fi network using Meraki mesh networking technology.

The group is hoping to encourage residents and shops to set up their own Meraki to extend the network across Sydney. The Meraki Minis cost $US49, and need to be ordered from the US. The group has been organising group purchases to minimise shipping costs.

There's a similar group in Canberra too.

After the jump, find out how you can get involved.
From the Sydney Free Wireless website:

"You too can help SydneyFreeNet grow by putting a Meraki Mini in your front window, balcony or rooftop.

If you have a broadband Internet connection, you can share (part of) your bandwidth, by having your Meraki set up as a internet gateway. If you don’t have a broadband Internet connection, you can still help out by extending the network if you can see the SydneyFreeNet wireless network signal, by setting up your Meraki as a repeater.

If you already provide free wireless Internet (that’s great!), you are welcome to join SydneyFreeNet by adding Meraki Minis to your existing access point(s). By combining our efforts, you’ll become part of a larger wireless network, improve the quality of service for your visitors and be helping to build a unified and robust wireless network."

Awesome idea, I'll be looking into this. Yes, the fact that we don't have unlimited broadband in Oz is a consideration, but the group's reported so far that they haven't been plagued by download leeches - and you can ban leeches if needed.


    I applaud the sentiment and would consider doing the same with my WiFi. BUT... this sort of thing will never work here in Australia as long as we are all stuck on expensive bandwidth capped internet connections. No way am I opening up my WiFi for others to use up my measly (but precious) 12GB per month.

    I think the idea is not to become a free ISP, but to give people a chance for a spot of browsing. I can imagine making it possible for a couple of people a day to use 50MB of my bandwidth - enough for a quick spot of webmail and not so much bandwidth that I would suffer if people did it every day (2x30x50=3gig or so).
    I'd feel good about myself for helping people out and making Sydney more wired.
    Meraki, the company behind this hardware, also lets you bill people. So one could even turn a quid!

    Thanks for the mention!

    Tim, Meraki has a web interface where you can monitor usage and block (blacklist) any devices that are connecting to your Meraki wifi network that are abusing the bandwidth.

    Not at all - the project sounds great. :)

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