I recently had a conversation about the project with one of Oregon State University’s teachers. He had a lot of good suggestions, starting with an idea for the router.
He suggested finding a router that supports DDWRT, a linux based router firmware designed to get extreme performance out of low end devices like the the Linksys WRT54G. The WRT54G is far too large and power hungry to work for the minimalisic ideal that this project is aiming for, so some testing will be required to find the best trade off between power and efficiency. Alternatively, something like the the Ubiquiti Wifistation is specifically designed to provide wifi over greater distances (they claim over 150mbps speeds at 100 meters) might be a better choice, if it can be persuaded to work in ad-hoc mode to both connect to the mesh and connect to other devices.
The professor also suggested that in addition to solar and induction power that I look into thermoelectric power. This technology allows you go generate a trickle of energy with the transfer of heat energy. Companies such as Perpetua are working on easy to deploy generators using this tech, and DIY thermoelectric generators are possible too.
Finally, he suggested that for future research, I consider the sensor networking courses offered by Portland State University. I don’t think I’m quite to a point on this where I can start taking the classes, but it looks promising, and I’m putting it up here for my future referance.
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