The Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network (CUWiN) is a special project of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC). Started in 2000 by a group of developers wishing to take advantage of under-utilized Internet links purchased for public use (such as those in municipal offices, schools, and universities), it began a partnership with UCIMC in 2004, gaining its current special project status. CUWiN inherits UCIMC's not-for-profit status and is devoted to building a network architecture to cost-effectively and efficiently create a community wireless network.
The project has built a communications network using wireless networking equipment ranging from commodity personal computers to specialized miniaturized, fan-less computers with integrated networking. This is essentially the same "WiFi" equipment used in homes and offices, but CUWiN put it on rooftops to connect neighbors and form a high-speed community network. It is one of many localized community wireless network projects across the world and is developing a platform which can be reused by certain types of these projects, based on their community's geographic structure.
CUWiN's three-part mission is to:
connect more people to Internet and broadband services,
develop open-source hardware and software for use by wireless projects worldwide, and
build and support community-owned, not-for-profit broadband networks in cities and towns around the globe.