In short, the Mesh Extender lets us break the "Wi-Fi barrier" of Mesh Telephony, typically extending range 10x to 100x depending on the environment. This means that a single mesh hop can span a block or two in typical suburban or urban areas, and into the kilometres in open terrain.
This has tremendous potential to increase the utility of mesh telephony.
Also, because the Mesh Extender acts as a Wi-Fi access point for phones, it completely removes the need for "rooting" or "jail breaking" a phone for it to participate on the mesh.
This also means that lots of nearby phones can use a single Mesh Extender.
In other words, it makes the mesh better and easier to join.
We now want to refine these prototypes into something that can end up being a saleable product so that we can get to the point where the general public can buy them and use them.
We thought about venture capital and other routes, but we don't want to compromise the openness of the technology we are creating.
This means that private and public philanthropic funding have been the mainstay until now, and has been vital in getting the Serval Mesh and Mesh Extenders to their current stage where we can make secure mesh phone calls, send secure mesh text messages and share files over the mesh.
While this sort of funding has been great, it is not really geared to moving to the product stage.
This is why we decided to launch a crowd-funding campaign so that the people who want the technology we are creating, and will ultimately benefit, can participate in funding its development, and help make sure that the Serval Mesh is available as soon as possible, and remains completely free and open software and hardware.
I invite you to take a look at our campaign at http://igg.me/at/speakfreely, and encourage you to spread the word far and wide, and if you would like, to contribute.