Setting up a network between isolated communities is not easy or cheap. People or communities that do not have direct access to the Internet must invest an enormous amount of money to set up a network based on commercial hardware that provides them with this access. Normally these communities cannot cope with the investment that this implies, and this is how the LibreRouter project was born, as a simple, cheap and, above all, free alternative, to provide Internet access to all by creating a Wi-Fi Mesh network.
LibreRouter is much more than a project, it is an opportunity to address the main needs of many communities with problems of Internet access. This router was born after the FCC forced the manufacturers to make modifications to the routers to prevent modifications being made, such as installing firmware modified to use certain frequencies. Thus, programmers and engineers from all over the world worked to create a new prototype router that did not comply with FCC norms and allowed to easily provide a Mesh connection to all types of communities, regardless of where they are, their budget and their needs.
The entire infrastructure of LibreRouter is not designed to connect a PC to squeeze a FTTH Gigabit Ethernet connection, but mainly seeks to meet the needs that many communities have offering:
- Accessibility to create a Mesh network without the need for specialized personnel.
- The possibility of easily scaling the network without affecting the speed.
- Robust and resistant devices that can work a long time without a single problem, neither software nor hardware.
- Affordable routers for communities with lower budgets.
The first prototypes of LibreRouter are ready and they are going to start testing in different communities in Mexico, Argentina, Canada and Spain.
Hardware used in LibreRouter
The philosophy of open hardware allows any user to know all the hardware components that make up this router, learn how they work and modify it without problems to adapt it to their own needs. In addition, if it breaks, users may know what has been broken and replace the part in question without having to go to an RMA.
Thus, the hardware that shapes this router is:
- 128 MB of RAM and 32 MB of Flash.
- Triple Radio MIMO 2 × 2 5 GHz with amplification to cover long distances with speeds of up to 300 Mbps without degradation.
- Wi-Fi Mesh.
- 2.4 Ghz connection for devices and links between routers.
- Mini-PCIe ports for expansion.
- Lightning protection
Finally, indicate that this router can be powered through the power grid, like any other, but can also work from a battery and even by solar energy.
Software used in LibreRouter
All the functionality of this router is offered from the following three software components: LibreMesh, LimeApp and LibreNet6.
On the one hand, LibreMesh (which works on OpenWRT) is responsible for allowing us to easily configure the entire Mesh network formed with these routers, including the automation of IPs and DNS. LimeApp, on the other hand, is an app that will allow us to monitor and manage the entire Mesh network.
Finally, LibreNet6 is a VPN that allows interconnecting Mesh networks. Thanks to this program it is possible to connect remotely to the network and solve any problem easily.