There are likely to be dozens of high-speed internet providers standing near you, all eager to provide gigabits of Internet. This is not the case for millions of rural people around the globe, who often have to live with poor or insufficient service. Mesh++ has just raised a few hundred dollars to help it realize its mission. The team, based in Chicago and Nairobi respectively, is dedicated to bringing internet connectivity into rural and underserved areas.
The solution looks elegant on paper. The router connects to power and searches for nearby Mesh++ routers. They can connect to each other and share all available internet connectivity over the mesh network. Each router is a node that spreads Wi-Fi love throughout the country. According to the company, a single node could cover 10 acres of Wi Fi connectivity and support up to 100 people. The network is able to be used internally for communication and messaging, as well as power outages or connectivity problems.
You can connect to the internet from any location, whether it is via ethernet or via cellular modesms. If you have multiple points, such as an Ethernet set or cellular modems throughout the network, you are able to combine the bandwidth from all of them. This creates redundant networks that can be used to fill in for any one of the other sources. This is a great alternative to having separate networks that feed separately. It creates a trusted network that can be used for fiber network deployments in areas where fiber infrastructure is failing. This network can combine the sources so you can trust untrusted sources. If it fails, nothing major happens. We can build very resilient networks.
The network should not only be able to provide routine connectivity, even if everything goes according to plan, but it should also be capable of surviving disasters. This was proven when Hurricane Ida ripped out large swathes of New Orleans' connectivity. The company claims that its network continued to function without interruption.
There are many options for remote and rural internet connectivity. However, I am struck by the way Mesh++ approaches the problem from a position of equality and access. Although it is more egalitarian than Elon Musk's Starlink, just to give an example, you can easily imagine a combination between Starlink and Mesh++ to distribute rural internet connectivity.
According to Mesh++'s CEO Danny Gardner there are many companies that can provide gigabit internet access anywhere in the globe. Starlink could be a good match. This partnership would be ideal. Many of these companies are faced with the problem that satellites can only serve about 100 people. The last-mile connectivity is what is difficult. They see the opportunity to partner with technology such as ours, which can provide connectivity to any location, to connect the remaining 3 billion people in the world.
The company believes it can beat even big cellular data providers and the team doesn't seem to be bothered by the 5G or LTE networks.
T-Mobile had promised that they would cover the majority of the U.S. using sub-6 Ghz 5G connectivity. Gardner says that 5G will not be covered if 4G isn't available yet because it wasn't financially viable.
The company has established test networks in several American cities and also has a presence there with a subsidiary of five people.
Gardner explains that the company was initially geared towards emerging markets. We didn't realize the extent of the problem at home in America. Slowly, but surely, we began to fix the connectivity issues in our backyard.
Mesh++ raised $4.9 million in seed capital led by Impact Investor World Within. Other investors included Lateral Capital, Anorak Ventures and First Leaf Capital. Additionally, existing investors SOSV and GAN Ventures participated.
Gardner says that the fundraising represents a significant shift in the company's focus from being a R&D-driven company for the past few years to focusing more on sales and making the company a mature company. We can now partner with distributors and customers to reach as many people as possible and get the product out.
The company plays into the macro-economic trend to ensure that all homes in the U.S. have internet access. Last-mile networks are very affordable, with the U.S. spending over $80 billion in just the past few years. It is not enough to get fiber to every home. The economics and logistics of this only work in areas with high population density. Mesh networks could be the solution. Mesh++ claims its technology reduces the infrastructure cost of installation by cutting it from over $400 per household to $29, or something like that. Mesh++ claims that the savings come primarily from the ease and labor costs of installation rather than the hardware cost.