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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted Google the application to use the whitespace spectrum ( along with several other companies).

White space spectrum, or super wifi, or even wifi on steroids as it is sometimes called,  has a much  longer wavelength than traditional wifi,  furthering it’s reach with much better penetration, some initial research showing at can reach over 50 miles.

Here is a video of one of Google founders, Larry Page,  speaking about super wifi , http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/05/larry-page-talks-about-googles-vision.html

The FCC vote : http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/09/fcc-vote-on-white-spaces-lays-promising.html

Combined with mesh networks this would be a game changer, of course the tech would most likely still be currently run by the telco’s and Google, but I am positive some open source ad hoc solutions come out of this new field.

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Providing local information during an “internet kill switch”.

Due to recent events in Egypt and the speed of the shutdown.

Most of these projects are open to contribution and further development.

B.A.T.M.A.N –  http://www.open-mesh.org/

Roofnet | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roofnet

GNUnet | https://gnunet.org/

Netsukuku | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsukuku

Open Mesh Project | http://www.openmeshproject.org/

OLPC Mesh Network | http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Mesh_Network_Details

Open source BGP | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_Gateway_Protocol

Digitatas | https://sites.google.com/a/opensailing.net/digitata/

sMesh | http://www.smesh.org/

Coova | http://coova.org/

Babel | http://www.pps.jussieu.fr/~jch/software/babel/

SolarMESH | http://owl.eng.mcmaster.ca/~todd/SolarMESH/

WINGproject | http://www.wing-project.org/

Wiki list of mesh protocols: Wikimedia list of ad-hoc mesh protocols and packet routing

Even bigger list of ad-hoc routing protocols: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hoc_routing_protocol_list

Commercial projects:
Meraki ( google funded) | http://meraki.com/
Firetide | http://www.firetide.com/

Basic explanation – how this stuff works:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesh_networking
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_mesh_network

Example of a working grassroots wireless community
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens_Wireless_Metropolitan_Network

The list here is to consolidate information, please feel free leave any protocols that have been left out and relevant comparison/analysis of mesh solutions in the comments.