The Mesh Potato combines the features of an 802.11bg WiFi router with an Analog telephone Adaptor (ATA). Each Mesh Potato provides a single fixed telephone line to the end user, and is connected to other Mesh Potatoes via a mesh Wifi network. Mesh Potatoes automatically configure themselves to build a Mesh Wifi network, greatly extending the range of the network over regular WiFi. Mesh Potatoes have been carefully engineered to be robust to developing world environmental conditions (e.g. accidental abuse, weather, static damage, poor electricity supply) and are designed for low power consumption (about 2W idle). The firmware is based on OpenWRT and can be configured in minutes using a simple Web GUI or even from a telephone using IVR menus. B.A.T.M.A.N. is used for Mesh routing and each Mesh Potato runs Asterisk with a custom FXS port channel driver. The Mesh Potato price is comparable to other outdoor router plus ATA combinations that are closed source, consume much more power, are not engineered for developing world conditions. Mesh Potatoes can be deployed using economical solar panels and batteries in locations where conventional power is not available or unreliable (including use in disaster-relief environments).
The Mesh Potatoes can be deployed in many situations in order to deliver inexpensive connectivity. Our applications are described below: