Wireless internet is probably the second most powerful invisible force, the first being God! High-speed wireless internet isn’t a luxury anymore; it is a necessity. However, there are many places on the planet that still lack this facility. MetaMesh.tech is a non-profit organization working to build Community Wireless Networks in Pittsburgh and any other place that requires their services.
We spoke with Adam Longwill, the Founder at MetaMesh.tech, to share his thoughts on how Meta Mesh is contributing towards building community wireless networks in Pittsburgh and to share 5 tips with businesses looking to start a business in the hardware space. Read on!
What inspired you to start MetaMesh.tech? Tell us the story.
Meta Mesh Wireless Communities is a non-profit that started out by teaching small communities how to build their own public Wi-Fi. We ended up manufacturing our own water-tight cases and configuring the Wi-Fi routers that went inside them. We started MetaMesh.tech as a web store to sell the hardware tech that Meta Mesh specializes in. This has helped interested communities from around the US to purchase a few devices and test their capabilities before working with us to build larger networks in their hometowns.
What makes Meta Mesh unique and how is it contributing towards building community wireless networks?
From applying to jobs to filing for benefits, you need to have a computer with Internet access. Wi-Fi routers are faster and cheaper than they have ever been, but the cost of Internet access is constantly increasing. We believe the future of connectivity in impoverished neighborhoods is public Wi-Fi. And we aim to create a network that connects these neighborhoods and other, more affluent business districts to the Internet and use our non-profit status to earn grants from investors while also working towards paying for the network’s infrastructure.
With the influx of hundreds of new domain extensions, the internet namespace is transforming the cyberspace one domain name at a time. For decades, domain names have provided virtual real estate to help businesses build their online presence. Finding the perfect domain name is a critical and tricky task for tech startups.
Could you share 5 tips with businesses looking to startup in the hardware space?
1: Just build it. It’s astonishing how much professional-grade equipment you can prototype and put into production with a few hours of online study and a few e-mails to people who might be helpful to your project.
2: Be ethical. If you’re going to make a product and start a business, you should be doing it because you want to improve the kingdom – not just your castle. You won’t burn out as quickly because you’ll be able to sleep at night if you go slowly, respect your customers, know how you’re going to improve the world, and see everyone around you as possible partners instead of competition. In all ways, be ethical.
3: Get a lawyer. You can move around your space or market much more confidently if you know what the law says about whatever you’re doing. Labor law, FCC radio limits, insurance, contract law, and data security are all important to know. It’s often the case that the lines you’re worried about crossing legally aren’t that big of a deal but there are other lines you had no idea that existed, and you’ve been over them for six months. So, get a lawyer.
4: Just ask. Forget that stubborn voice in your head that says, “don’t bother asking, they’ll never go for it.” It’s usually wrong. Lots of people and companies would love to help a startup out so long as you are well prepared before you interact with them. Just ask and say why you want their help! Then make it easy and low-impact for them to give you that help.
5: Don’t worry about losing staff. It takes time to find the people who have the same vision as you. The right people will find you eventually and stick around if you are ethical to yourself and to others. There are more, often better people out there who will pay you with their time and investment more than those who want to get paid in money or admiration.
What are the trends you foresee in the wireless communications industry?
Wireless communication is the present and the future of Internet access. Whether it is in an urban environment with a million smartphones or in remote, rugged West Virginian valleys, it is way simpler to put up a tower and serve 100 people than it is to run super high-speed fiber to 10. While fiber should be available to every home and business – we need stop-gap measures put in place to service millions of people who need high-speed connectivity now.
What are your future plans for Meta Mesh?
We would like to build a backhaul network in Pittsburgh, find deserving projects in and around Pittsburgh and light them up, and have the infrastructure and maintenance paid for by grants and private entities. In five years we see half the city covered with high-speed Internet access from our backhaul network.
Why did you choose a .TECH domain name? How is it helping you develop a unique online brand?
We thought it was super cool to have a .tech TLD. It allowed us to have a separate domain that we could link to from other websites that looked and felt like a standalone entity, separate from the messaging that we had on metamesh.org, our non-profit’s main site.
Get .tech here!