Maxwell

by Andy Haas

Mesh Wi-Fi for nerds

Crowdfunding Page History

This page is an archive of the original crowdfunding campaign for this project. It may not be up-to-date with the latest updates and product availability. Return to the current project page.

$19,346 raised

of $15,000 goal

128% Funded! Order Below

Pledge Now

$149

Three-Pack of Dual-Band Maxwell Nodes

A set of three dual-band Maxwell nodes is a good place to start. Bathe your home or office in stable mesh Wi-Fi, built on the most popular and expandable open-source router software.


$99

Two-Pack of Dual-Band Maxwell Nodes

A set of two dual-band Maxwell nodes is a good choice for apartments, condos, or small homes.


$219

Mixed Three-Pack - 2x Dual-Band & 1x Tri-Band Maxwell Nodes

To step it up a notch, use a tri-band router where devices need some extra bandwidth. The third band talks to devices without slowing down the mesh.


$369

Three-Pack of Tri-Band Maxwell Nodes

For maximum bandwidth, set up a full tri-band mesh!


$99

Outdoor Maxwell Node

Introduce your mesh to the great outdoors by adding one or more weatherized nodes.


$129

Tri-Band Maxwell Node

Expand your mesh by adding an extra tri-band node.


$69

Dual-Band Maxwell Node

Expand your mesh by adding an extra dual-band node.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Hackster News

"Maxwell is the first open source mesh Wi-Fi solution to allow hobbyists and hackers to take full control of their home networks."

comunicacionesinalambricashoy

"Con capacidad para aguantar hasta 17 dispositivos de red y 230 clientes conectados, el sistema de red mallada abierto Maxwell funciona con el software OpenWRT."

PCBWay Community Blog

"Different from other proprietary and closed source protocols for the mesh networking, Maxwell allows users extend the functionality of their Maxwell nodes"

Electromaker

"Welcome to the Electromaker show, episode 27! This week...a Wi-Fi mesh system that’s open-source and hackable debuted..."

instaladoresdetelecomhoy

" Incluyendo una versión preparada para operar en entornos de exterior, el router mesh open source Maxwell se presenta en dos modelos y pudiendo formar una red mesh de hasta 17 nodos."

Trendhunter

"Mesh networking equipment has quickly become essential to help eliminate the occurrence of slow connectivity speeds or dead zones in homes and businesses... The Maxwell Wireless mesh router comes as a next-generation option for prosumers"

Geeky Gadgets

"The Maxwell open source Wireless mesh router consists of nodes. Each node is a “serious” router with multiple high-gain antennas, up to three simultaneous MIMO Wi-Fi bands, and support for gigabit Ethernet backhaul."

Powerful, Intuitive, Open Source Mesh Wi-Fi!

Maxwell is powerful, secure, open-source mesh Wi-Fi made easy! Each node is a serious router with multiple high-gain antennas, up to three simultaneous MIMO Wi-Fi bands, and support for gigabit Ethernet backhaul. We even offer a weatherized node that’s perfect for outdoor use. Maxwell is not just powerful and reliable, though. It’s also perhaps the easiest mesh Wi-Fi system to set up: just place the nodes around your house, plug them in, power them on, and use an Ethernet cable to connect one of them to your broadband modem.

Flexible & Secure

Open-source means you’re in control. You can ssh into any router node, see what’s going on with the config files, and run scripts. You can even modify and build your own firmware. And since it’s based on OpenWRT—the world’s leading open-source router software—you can take advantage of thousands of additional packages that let you extend the functionality of your Maxwell nodes. From VPNs to QoS to parental controls, the OpenWRT community has you covered.

Open-source also means security. With support for WPA3 encryption and the ability to ensure that your system is patched against the latest vulnerabilities, Maxwell helps you stay ahead in the cat-and-mouse game between those who write malware and those who push updates for router firmware. Plus there’s no phone app and no need to hand your mesh keys over to a third-party (we’re looking at you Amazon and Google). When it comes to privacy and security, less is sometimes more.

All the Details at Your Fingertips

Maxwell scripts on each node gather information and feed it to a dashboard where you can monitor what’s going on with your mesh—either at a glance, using the super-cool graphical network map, or by digging into the details. What nodes are working? Are they connected to the Internet? What’s connected to what, on which Wi-Fi channels, and how strong is the signal? What’s the bandwidth between all of the nodes? What are the upload and download speeds, to and from the Internet, on each node? What’s the preferred routing path between each pair of nodes?

This ease-of-use extends to configuration as well. At the push of a button, you can easily set new SSIDs, replace your WPA keys, update your firmware, etc. And when you modify settings like this, your changes will propagate to the entire mesh!

Features & Specifications

  • Ease of Use: Automated mesh setup & dynamic route optimization
  • Bandwidth: 50-400 Mb/s (typical, real-world bandwidth) depending on the setup topology and client location relative to the hub
  • Scalability: Support for up to 17 mesh router nodes and 230 simultaneous clients
  • Coverage: Up to 30,000 square feet, plus support for wired Gb Ethernet backhaul and Ethernet-connected client end-points
  • Flexibility: Deploy a mix of dual-band and tri-band nodes depending on where you need more bandwidth, add guest networks easily, and take advantage of USB ports to accommodate on-network storage
  • Security: Latest WPA2 (client) and WPA3-SAE (mesh) encryption, with seamless hand-off via 802.11r when moving clients between mesh nodes
  • Dual-band nodes: AC 1300-2100 Mb/s class MU-MIMO router
    • Dual 800 MHz+ CPU
    • 128+ MB RAM & Flash
    • 2+ Gb Ethernet ports
    • 6+ antennas
  • Tri-band nodes: AC 2200-3000 Mb/s class MU-MIMO router
    • Dedicated 5 GHz backhaul channel
    • Dual 800 MHz+ CPU
    • 128+ MB RAM & Flash
    • 4+ Gb Ethernet ports
    • 8+ external high-gain antennas
  • Outdoor station nodes: AC 1200 Mb/s class router
    • PoE connection
    • Weatherproof design
    • 2+ high-power, high-gain antennas

Mesh View

Comparisons

Maxwell MeshEeroFreeMesh
Easy SetupYes Requires app No
Open SourceYes No Yes
Expandable & HackableYes No Yes
Private & SecureYes Amazon controlled Yes
Tri-Band AvailableYes Yes No
Outdoor Node AvailableYes No No
Detailed mesh monitoringYes No No
Mesh MappingYes No No
Bandwidth50 - 400 Mb/s 50 - 350 Mb/s 50 - 200 Mb/s
Coverage for three nodes3500 - 4500 sq. ft. 3500 sq. ft. 3500 sq. ft.
Price for three nodes (Dual-Band)$149 $249 $169.98

Support & Documentation

The Maxwell source code is on GitHub and our documentation is available here. If you have a question, you can reach out to us using the Ask a technical question link on our campaign page. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Manufacturing Plan

For the time being, Maxwell nodes are off-the-shelf commercial routers that I have purchased and onto which I will load our customized Maxwell firmware. This process will cover all initial campaign orders. Moving forward, I’m working on a version of Maxwell that is optimized for two open source router boards: the Banana Pi R64 and the WF-HR1901 IPQ4019-based router board, both of which should provide great tri-band performance at reduced cost and with improved availability.

Fulfillment & Logistics

We will send all crowdfunded Maxwell nodes in one bulk shipment to Mouser Electronics, Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner. They, in turn, will ship each order to its new home. You can learn more about Crowd Supply’s shipping process in the Crowd Supply Guide. And remember to keep your shipping address updated in your Crowd Supply account!

Risks & Challenges

The Maxwell mesh system has been tested quite extensively over the past several months—in my home and in the homes of my beta testers. I am therefore confident that the system is stable and that it will work. As with all software and firmware, however, there are bugs. As Maxwell is deployed to hundreds or thousands of locations, we will undoubtedly discover circumstances in which it reacts poorly to some new configuration or use case. Fortunately, both our software and our firmware are easily updated, and I will do my best to roll out fixes as bug reports come in. And of course, the beauty of open source is that you yourself can contribute to the Maxwell community by submitting those bug reports—or even by pushing code that addresses them!


Credits

Andy Haas

Professor of Physics by day and open-source/open-hardware tinkerer by night


Andrew Haas

See Also

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