the FCC is not really interested in innovative projects like PittMesh.
A big delusion is thinking that major enterprise / government types in nice suits really are interested or care what libre source hackers want. Typically what is looked for is some regulation to help the profits along and maintain order. Really, people, you need to trust the Man a little less.
Long-time Meta Mesh/PittMesh staff here, AMAA.
Why do people use other’s hardware like WDR routers instead of more open computers like rPI, or even their own hardware? It seems as if with custom built hardware being easier to make, the future lies in learning to hack on that level instead of using the manufacturing processes of companies whose interests don’t align so well with tinkering.
The development, implementation, production, configuration, and support of custom hardware is unfortunately not within our current manpower or even specialty. It’s out of scope for now, but we’ve definitely considered it. We’re building wardriving rigs and experimenting with multipurpose access points, but not planning to deploy any of these to our node hosts anytime soon.
A major idea behind community wireless networks is that its participants do not need special equipment or significant technical skills to participate. Ideally, they could buy a router off the shelf at Best Buy/Microcenter/whatever and configure it with our settings using our explicit instructions. For right now, an intermediary step is to flash OpenWRT or similar since there aren’t any consumer routers that ship with OLSR installed. Flashing is an inconvenient, uncomfortable step because of the difficulty in recovering from a problem. Ultimately very easy when things go right, and I can say in ~10 years I’ve been playing with firmware flashing, I’ve had a flash go bad once. Maybe I’m weird and lucky!
We’d chosen TP-Link because they were not only affordable, but also had virtually no barriers to flashing alternative firmwares. We’re going to have to look elsewhere now, it seems, because, as you say, it appears that TP-Link doesn’t have its enthusiast users in mind.