Strategically placed, the routers link together community centers—from the main street to the marketplace. Not long ago, the Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali government censored access to the Internet. The regime is gone now. And this free network gives the community unfettered access to thousands of books, secure chat and file sharing applications, street maps, and more.
The Sayada community network is part of the Open Technology Institute's (OTI) Commotion Wireless project. The organization works with local groups to install mesh networks in communities across the globe—from New York to India. Commotion Wireless uses routers that utilize and extend (among other things) OpenWRT—an open source operating system with nonstandard features that make these unique networks possible. Reprogrammed and repurposed, the routers become something entirely new: a hub of information, a beacon of open access, and a symbol of freedom.