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This project will be launched with a sprint on Feb 25-27, 2011.
== Project Goals ==
The goal of Project Byzantium is to develop a communication system by which users can connect to each other and share information in the absence of convenient access to the Internet.
The use cases for such a system would be:
# The infrastructure for accessing the internet has become damaged or inaccessible. (Eg, a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.)
# A central authority has decided to explicitly block or shutdown key infrastructure. (Eg, Egypt's recent internet blackout.)
A zombie apocalypse in which the personnel responsible for maintaining key infrastructure have all been turned.
The project aims to develop and publish the necessary documentation, best practices, and software to construct and support such a system. Our current approach is to start by investigating and documenting the existing technologies which would support such a system. In particular, mesh networking protocols, wireless networking technologies, and decentralized (or less-centralized) alternatives to internet addressing/naming systems such as DNS. In designing the system, we aim to reduce the dependency on exotic hardware or skill sets so that the system can be deployed quickly and easily by average internet users.
An additional goal is that users not actively participating in the mesh network (i.e., not running mesh routing software on their devices) can make use of the network without having to install anything new, jailbreak their phone, or pry the information out of an infected hacker rapidly turning into an Exsurgent monster.
== Sprint 1 ==
Goal - Reliably bridge two different and separate wireless networks without using existing internet infrastructure.
1) There should be a webserver on each network providing a service of some kind (microblogs, web chat, file dump).
2) Nodes in either network should be able to reach both webservers.
3) Nodes on one network should be able to talk to nodes on the other network and vice versa.
4) Networks should have at least 3-5 nodes each.
Tentative schedule is as follows:
Friday - 8:00pm Pizza and planning (any particular request should email me off list). (COMPLETE!)
Saturday - 9:00am Start showing up (IN PROGRESS!)
Saturday - 10:00am Divide into groups and start the sprint.
Sunday - 10:00am Start showing up.
Sunday - 11:00am Finish the sprint!
Sunday - Evening Debriefing (I'll be taking extensive notes to update the wiki).
We're gonna have two teams each will implement a mesh network using some existing mesh protocol. One team will be working with BATMAN-Advanced and the other with BABEL. Each network will use at least one openwrt device the rest will be laptops and netbooks.
from Wikipedia: [http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_fault_tolerance#Origin Byzantine]
[http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/babel-users/2008-August/000151.html A few comments on the BATMAN routing protocol]
[http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/babel-users/2008-August/000156.html A few more comments on the BATMAN routing protocol]
=== Distributed DNS ===
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_hash_table Distributed Hash Table (DHT)] - Wikipeda page on DHTs. Has a decent overview of how they work.
[http://www.bamboo-dht.org/ Bamboo DHT] - A DHT implementation in Java.
[http://code.google.com/p/upright/ UpRight] - A library for building fault-tolerant distributed systems. Incorporates innovations from modern solutions to Byzantine fault tolerance.
[https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Gossip_protocol Gossip Protocols]: Nodes in a network pseudorandomly select peers to exchange information with. Could be useful for distributing the contents of a DHT-based DNS implementation within a mesh network.
[https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Kademlia Kademlia] has an interesting way of handling the entry distribution problem. When inserting an entry, it iterates through the table to find suitable nodes in the network to hold that entry and propagates it to them as well as saving a copy locally.
[http://conferences.sigcomm.org/sigcomm/2004/papers/p292-ramasubramanian1111.pdf CoDoNS paper] - A very good paper from 2004 on a distributed DNS alternative. It still relies on centralized domain name registration.
[http://www.cs.cornell.edu/people/egs/beehive/codons.php CoDoNS main page] - It appears that CoDoNS is operational and running on PlanetLab.
Unfortunately, I don't see any code. I see no reason why we can't simply hijack their design.
[http://www.surfnet.nl/Documents/DNSSSEC-web.pdf Tutorial on DNS and DNSSEC]
[http://nms.lcs.mit.edu/projects/ins/ Intentional Naming System] - "INS is a new naming system intended for naming and discovering a variety of resources in future networks of devices and services. It has the following interesting characteristics about the way it names resources and the way names are resolved."
== Sprint 2 ==
Long haul links.
Planning meeting: Thu Mar 3 2011 after the bike maintenance class (done)
===Stuff to bring (proposed)===
*FMRS/GMRS radios that you wouldn't mind hacking.
*Childrens' walkie-talkies. The Doctor knows where to buy cheap pairs of them locally.
*Webcams ''that are known to work with Linux''. That's closer to black magick than computer science, so do your homework first (or on your smartphone while at the store).
*Laser pointers (the more exotic the colors the better). Buy them when you find them. When you go looking for them specifically you can never find them.
*Really bright LEDs
*Microcontrollers. They may come in handy for modulating/demodulating signals.
*Hackable wireless access points.
*radio shack/hardware store high bandwidth unlicensed
*Hacked FRS/GMRS radios
**[http://takethingsapart.blogspot.com/2010/07/note-before-constructing-device-such-as.html Text messages over walkie-talkies.]
**[http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1270645507 Forum post with some ideas.]
*Develop improvised antennae to improve signal quality, distance covered.
The FCC has designated a number of channels in the 27 MHz band that can be used for signaling and radio control. They are unnumbered and in-between CB channels 1-13 ([http://forum.servomagazine.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2736 source])
**with balloon targets
**with lasers and balloon targets
**with lasers and self-adhesive mirrored decals.
*All Electronics Magazine had a couple of articles on building lasercomm devices on the cheap. Somebody remind the Doctor to go through his magazine collection.
*[http://www.make-digital.com/make/vol16/?pg=69#pg69 How to make a simple laser communicator.] (I think I have this issue.. --drwho)
*read up on [http://ronja.twibright.com/ Ronja]
*read up on FMRS/GMRS
*read up on and talk to the hacdc spaceblimp people about soundcard modems: like [http://www.baycom.org/~tom/ham/soundmodem/ this] (also available via apt [http://www.qbjnet.com/packet.html like so])
*Optimize for hackability. Could your average geek build a few of these using junk around zir house and deploy them in an emergency situation?
*measure the bandwidth of a point to point long haul connection at maximum distance
*find the optimum distance for maximum bandwidth
*mathematically describe the way to maximize throughput with a minimum number of nodes
*run an ssh session over whatever link is established
*Develop methods to minimize latency.
*revisit sprint 1
*revisit sprint 2 (possibly with different methods)
**long haul mesh