Wireless Mesh Network Apps

Societal Impact of Wireless Mesh Network technologies

On September 2014, as Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters take over the streets, 6 months old FireChat app gained terrain. Despite of its short lifetime, the technology on which the app is supported is not that young; mesh wireless topologies have been here for more than 30 years. What are they? What is their potential? Why are they becoming popular now? Find out in this timeline.

Early Academic Research

MIT works on a project called Roofnet, aimed to create a self-organizing wireless network. Professor Robert Morris, coordinator of the project stated the objective was “to understand how a whole bunch of computers with short-range radios can self-configure a network, forming order out of chaos”. Other universities also have research groups developing similar systems (Carnegie Mellon, Rice, UCLA, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Some history

In the 1980’s, the military funded research on implementing multi-hop mesh networks in the battlefield, but efforts were thwarted by the high cost of hardware. As the cost of hardware came down in the 1990’s, universities began building and testing mesh networks for use on campus.

OLPC controversy

In Latin America, a study carried out by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) contrasted results of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) in Uruguay and Peru. In the former the experience look successful, in the latter apparently there was no impact in learning.


The first free off-the-grid instant messaging application for numerous mobile phone platforms was launched in Toronto, Canada.

The Green Machine Promise

During the UN net summit in Tunis, Nicolas Negroponte, presented his idea of providing cheap laptops to children in developing countries.

Mesh network for the XO laptop

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project deployed its first mesh network for XO beta machines in launch countries.

The Serval Project

The Serval Project was founded in Australia in response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake.

Citizen-sourced journalism

The Center for Environment Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) implemented a mobile-based community news network in Nigeria.

Open Garden

Open Garden was founded in San Francisco by Micha Benoliel, Stanislav Shalunov and Greg Hazel.


Open Garden introduced FireChat for iPhones in March 2014, followed by a version for Android just a month later.

Copy this timeline Login to copy this timeline 3d

Contact us

We'd love to hear from you. Please send questions or feedback to the below email addresses.

Before contacting us, you may wish to visit our FAQs page which has lots of useful info on Tiki-Toki.

We can be contacted by email at: hello@tiki-toki.com.

You can also follow us on twitter at twitter.com/tiki_toki.

If you are having any problems with Tiki-Toki, please contact us as at: help@tiki-toki.com


Edit this timeline

Enter your name and the secret word given to you by the timeline's owner.

3-40 true Name must be at least three characters
3-40 true You need a secret word to edit this timeline

Checking details

Please check details and try again