NYC - Mesh


Project by: Eddie Joe Antonio, Matthew Heaton, and Mia Winther-Tamaki
A4892-1 Data Visualization | Professor Jia Zhang

This project investigates the spatial and temporal makeup of the NYC Mesh WiFi network, a community driven internet network of activist-citizens building a freely accessible, open, wireless physical structure of interconnected routers. Founded in 2014, NYC Mesh is currently concentrated in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and is expanding with the efforts of user-volunteers. The volunteer-run organization currently provides New Yorkers with over 623 active connections, bypassing the need for provision by conventional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that constitute an oligopoly of internet service in NYC. Through D3 data visualizations, this project will seek to understand how and when the NYC Mesh WiFi network spread and gained momentum.

Scroll below to learn more!


Because Mesh WiFi routers transmit connection through a direct line of sight, the growth of Mesh nodes are highly dependent on the building heights within the urban fabric. Tall buildings are especially necessary for hubs and supernodes that distribute internet to thousands of other nodes. NYC Mesh prioritizes tall buildings such as NYCHA buildings, skyscrapers, churches, schools, libraries, existing antenna masts, and tall apartment buildings.

Interact with the animation at right to see how the elevation of nodes has changed over time with the growth of the system!


Growth has been somewhat inconsistent for the Mesh NYC system. Since 2015, certain months and years have resulted in significantly more growth for the system than others. The volunteer, decentralized structure has likely affected the growth of the system since its start in Lower Manhattan.

Select one of the two options below to view the total number of nodes requested by month or by year!

/ Decentrality

A View