Why itâ€™s Fierce: Meraki (may-rah-kee) is a Greek word that means doing something with soul, creativity or love. So itâ€™s only fitting that the companyâ€™s mission is to bring affordable Internet access to the masses. Yes, weâ€™ve heard that noble goal before, but Meraki is actually doing it through a new approach to wireless networkingâ€”namely dirt-cheap off-the-shelf WiFi equipment and grassroots volunteerism. The ad-hoc networks are formed using shared broadband connections and Merakiâ€™s WiFi repeaters that users place in their windows, balconies or roofs. Meraki, funded by Sequoia Capital, has also introduced a $99 solar-powered repeater that can create a mesh network with other similar routers. Anyone can become their own wireless ISP.
Born out of an MIT Ph.D research project that provided
wireless access to graduate students, Meraki got its start at a low-income
housing community in the U.S. News about the companyâ€™s products spread by word
of mouth into more than 25 countries around the world. To date, there are
approximately 1,000 Meraki mesh networks worldwide with about 40,000 users.
Meraki itself is bringing a free WiFi mesh network to parts of
What to look for: Watch for Google to leverage its
investment in Meraki to provide better in-building coverage. Poor in-building
coverage has been a major criticism of muni-WiFi networks. The question is, can
Meraki be leveraged in