Case Study — 01


A long-range antenna connects a node to the backhaul in Communa 13.

Legacy ISP: Slow or No Bandwidth

In many parts of Medellin, internet connections are spotty, slow, expensive, or non-existent. The network organizers at red_medellin are deploying their first Althea network in the hillside community neighborhood Communa 13, where a small number of high-speed, line-of-sight connections can bring better bandwidth to homes, schools, and businesses. Read our blog post about helping them deploy Althea in Medellin.

People in the Comuna learned to install their own equipment.
Network Organizers have close ties with community members, and help implement and curate the network.

Althea: Faster, Cheaper Internet — Owned by the people using it

The red_medellin network is bringing internet access to Communa 13, partnering with another local organization to buy bandwidth, and beaming it by radio to the neighborhood. While some nodes on the network will just be accessing the internet, others can help grow the network organically by getting their neighbors set up too—offsetting the cost of their own connection, or even earning a little money doing so.

red_medellin was started by 4 young Americans living in Medellin. However, they do not own the network. Althea's decentralized architecture means that each node is owned by the people using it to buy and/or sell internet access. The red_medellin network organizers provide technical support and installation services to this network of independently-owned nodes.

Technology & Topology

medellin Node Map medellin Node Map medellin Node Map

Select Node Type:


Gateway Node


Red_medellin has partnered with local recording studio Son Bata to buy commercial bandwidth and beam it to Comuna 13. This connection will travel 1.6km by point-to-point radio to a school that sits on a hill above the neighborhood, with a great line of sight to many of the houses and buildings nearby.

Any houses with a direct view of the school can point an inexpensive antenna to the sector antennas set up above the school and connect to the internet. These houses can then “pass on” this connection to their neighbors via ethernet cable, earning some money.

Users access bandwidth through relay nodes, or directly from the gateway node, and don't pass it on to anyone else... yet. Anytime they want to, these users could become relay nodes by selling their connection on to their neighbors.

Next   Case Study — 02