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A Big Phoney Mesh

Time:13:30 - 14:15
Day:Friday 22 January 2010
Location:Renouf 1 (MFC)
Project: Village Telco

The Village Telco is a tool kit for building community telephone networks. The Village Telco is based around the Mesh Potato - an open hardware Wifi Mesh router integrated with a FXS port to provide a VOIP telephone line to Village Telco customers. No land lines or mobile phone towers are required - the network is based on peer to peer mesh networking technology. Gateways interconnect the Village Telco with traditional mobile and fixed phone networks.

The Mesh Potato is custom Wifi hardware that has been designed by a community of open software and hardware hackers. Partnering with Atcom, a VOIP hardware company, we have built and are deploying Beta Mesh Potato hardware at many sites around the world. Although the Village Telco is designed for developing world telephony is can also be used for community telephone networks in the 1st world.

In this presentation I will briefly introduce the Village Telco and the Mesh Potato and talk about how a small team developed cool custom Wifi hardware. We will then build and test a small Village Telco network. Several Mesh Potatoes will be provided for audience participation. Topics covered will include Mesh Wifi, VOIP, basic Asterisk configuration, and telephony hacking.

David Rowe

David Rowe has 20 years experience in the development of DSP-based telephony and sat-com hardware/software. David has a wide mix of skills including software, hardware, and project management including a PhD in DSP theory. He has held executive level positions in the sat-com industry ( and has built and successfully exited a small business ( In 2005 David founded the Free Telephony Project ( which has pioneered the field of Open Hardware embedded VOIP products. His open source contributions include the first open software telephony hardware drivers in 1999 and the Oslec echo canceller ( which is now part of the Linux kernel. David's other interests include building and advocating Electric Vehicles and VOIP technology for the developing world.