Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Meraki Raises $20 Million for its Muni Wireless Mesh

Meraki, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, raised $20 million in Series B funding of from Sequoia Capital, DAG Ventures, Northgate Capital and other existing investors for its municipal wireless networking plans. The company also announced that it will deploy a city-wide wireless access network in San Francisco that will provide free, broadband Internet access for every neighborhood in the city by the end of 2008.


Meraki said it is pioneering networking technologies to bring the next billion people online. The company offers a low-cost, easy-to-install and use, wireless mesh technology that enables consumers to cover their homes, apartment complexes and entire communities. The technology creates a wireless network by combining signals from hundreds or thousands of low-power radio repeaters installed on rooftops, balconies and windows, extending WiFi access to city residents in their homes and businesses. Through communication with Meraki central servers and intelligence worked into every repeater, each point in the network is automatically optimized for speed and performance without any maintenance required of users.

Meraki's "Free the Net" program, which was launched last year in San Francisco in select neighborhoods, currently claims over 40,000 users.
In the first two square miles of the project in San Francisco, the network identified and worked around more than 20,000 sources of interference and allowed Meraki to deliver almost 1Mbps of access to every user.



The backbone of the San Francisco network will be built using hundreds of small solar-powered distribution points, installed on residential and commercial rooftops -- enabling quick installation and reliable operation. As the network extends into new neighborhoods, Meraki will offer San Francisco residents free repeaters that will bring a high-speed, broadband signal into their homes while strengthening the network and providing coverage to neighbors. A repeater is not required to receive wireless access, residents may simply hop on the free network provided by repeaters throughout the neighborhood.


Meraki said it will fund the entire cost for establishing the free network across the city, as part of an effort to showcase for other communities around the world how the company's technology can allow the creation of city-wide access networks at a fraction of current costs. No public funds will be used to build this new Meraki wireless network in San Francisco.http://www.meraki.com/

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