Mesh Potatoes Go On Sale

Production Mesh PotatoThis is a big moment for the Village Telco.  We have finally arrived at the of the journey that began in June 2008 when I sat down with some very, very bright and innovative people and together we decided not to re-purpose rich world technology for Africa but to boldly design our tech to meet our own requirements.  Don’t get me wrong, if something vaguely similar had already existed we would have jumped at it but at the time no one was manufacturing a mashed up WiFi AP and Analogue Telephony Adaptor.  They still aren’t.

You can see the final design of the Mesh Potato at the right.  Those of you are familiar with the Ubiquiti Nanostation II will know that we borrowed wholesale from their excellent enclosure design.  They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  In this case, it is certainly true.  We love Ubiquiti gear.

What we’ve borrowed from Ubiquiti is the sealed-unit design which makes for a sturdy weather-proof enclosure.  What’s a little bit different is the back mounting which has a slip-on piece that can be screwed to a wall.  Without the screw-on piece there is a similar mounting to the Nanostation for mounting on a pole.

A live Mesh Potato The best news of all is that Mesh Potatoes are now available for purchase by anyone.  Simply click on the Products link above to buy them from our webstore.  The cost of each Mesh Potato is USD 119 but for the next two weeks we’re making them available at the wholesale price of USD 89 per unit.  In order get that price, enter “afinemesh” as a coupon code on the Checkout page after you have selected the number of Mesh Potatoes that you’d like.  Shipping is calculated via DHL from Atcom in China.  Please contact us if you’d like to make other shipping arrangements.  Orders placed now will ship by the end of September.

Finally, I would just like to express ongoing amazement and appreciation of the many, many people who have contributed to making the Mesh Potato a reality in small ways and in big earth-shaking ways.  You know who you are.  You all seriously rock.  Open Software, Open Hardware refreshes the parts that other intellectual property regimes can’t reach.  Thank you.

14 Responses to «Mesh Potatoes Go On Sale»

  1. September 05, 2010 at 11:54 pm, Cristian Paul said:
    Finally !!, there are plans to get it cheaper as the time go? i think still a bit harder to buy in development countries without consider shipping costs and taxes. Anyway are great news !

  2. October 27, 2010 at 4:30 am, Yeow said:
    I am impressed with the solution. Any plans for upgrading the hardware to support 802.11n? UBNT gears that using AR7240 processor and AR9280 11n chipset could be a good choice.

    • October 27, 2010 at 6:48 am, Steve said:
      We're definitely thinking about this and Atheros does seem to be the way to go although it would be even better if we could actually get some engagement from Atheros themselves. A key consideration is making sure that the ath9k drivers for 802.11n devices are stable enough to robustly support mesh networking.

  3. November 01, 2010 at 9:56 am, Daniel said:
    Sorry for the basic question but, what can we do with it? How many do we need to implement a reliable mesh? The design looks very nice, but I still do not visualize how it relates to a regular wifi router and what are the uses cases for it. Again, apologizes for the basic question. Thanks

    • November 01, 2010 at 10:43 am, Steve said:
      Hi Daniel. The Mesh Potato has been designed to create telephone networks. Plug two in and set their IP addresses and you can start making calls. It is a mashup of a wireless access point running in adhoc (mesh) mode and an analogue telephony adaptor, which means you can plug an ordinary phone into it. We have designed it to be very robust to withstand power fluctuations, brownouts, etc and have made it very low power (sub 2.5W) in order to reduce the cost of running Mesh Potatoes on solar energy. There is a use case anywhere telephony is either unavailable or expensive. This could mean anywhere where there is not much competition in the communication sector but more specifically underserviced rural areas. Other ideas we are exploring is infrastructure in disaster relief scenarios, low cost infrastructure for IDP and refugee camps. More commercial applications might be remote holiday resorts/camps, communication systems for mines, there are lots of possibilities. So it is the same technology as a regular WiFi router but is running in mesh mode which means that each device is a repeater for the other devices. You only need two to start a communication network. Reliability has more to do with good line of sight and solid power supply.

  4. November 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm, Production Mesh Potatoes « Rowetel said:
    [...] Mesh Potatoes By david, on November 23rd, 2010 In September the production Mesh Potato was released. Since it was was conceived in June 2008 building the Mesh Potato has been my major [...]

  5. January 01, 2011 at 3:04 am, Eric Jarvies said:
    Steve, Is there any other way to pay for the devices besides Paypal? I am not a Paypal advocate/supporter, thus I do not have a Paypal account. How about just a normal credit card payment option? Eric

  6. January 03, 2011 at 12:13 pm, Steve said:
    @eric re: alternative payment mechanisms. Working on it. Back to you very shortly.

  7. February 22, 2011 at 4:19 am, Phone and Internet Mesh for African Villages — WhiteAfrican said:
    [...] the last few years, a dedicated team of enthusiasts have been building the initial hardware and software. Both of which are open source. It’s a low-cost way to get into the telco [...]

  8. February 23, 2011 at 6:32 am, Village Telco: Addressing the issue of rural connectivity | memeburn said:
    [...] access, and profits can be made.For the last few years, a dedicated team of enthusiasts have been building the initial hardware and software. Both of which are open source. It’s a low-cost way to get into the telco business. Here’s to [...]

  9. April 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm, Rev Dr Theo Mpho Molobi said:
    I am impressed with this new (to me) Telco/Mesh Potato concept. I would like to get more information about it because I would like to get involved in establishing such in rural communities and/or townships

  10. October 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm, Dan maina said:
    This is good stuff. this will beat all the regulatory issues and give access to the poor/SME in rural areas. am also more keen/interested on business model. steve any ideas?

  11. January 29, 2012 at 9:35 am, July Timor said:
    Where can i purpchase it? Is it available in Dubai or African Region? Thanks

    • January 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm, steve said:
      You can purchase them online at

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