Mesh Networking

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Meetings Thursdays at 7:30ish starting 10 Feb 2011


Official Project Page


The notes below were used while formulating the project. Further notes available on the now-Ongoing project page.


Which way will we head with this?

  • support Networking_Strategic_Simulation
  • community wifi
  • cold hard maxout of the current tech
  • Development of communication devices with readily available (i.e., cheap) technology.
  • Communication technology which lends itself to improvisational construction.

What Next?

After we have our direction what are we gonna do?

  • define coverage
    • building
    • block
    • neighborhood
    • city
    • intercity
    • regional
    • infinite (assuming it will grow with the technology's ability to support it)
  • audience - who's gonna use this
  • purpose - what will this be used for (surfing the web or just email/twitter/<insert favorite text service here>)
  • Use case - circumstances under which this technology will usually be deployed
    • ISP/ISP replacement
    • disaster
    • communication infrastructure failure
    • censorship



What will our approach to the network level of the mesh be?

  • broadcast
  • "actor" oriented - assume no knowledge in other nodes
  • nested - roll with what exists and use it to connect seperate traditional nets
  • Hybrid
    • clients communicate using wifi with hubs
    • hubs relay traffic using one of the mesh networking protocols
    • IPv6 makes the addressing for this very sensible. address: [1st half highest node "subnet"][further refinement or subnets][last block device id unique within the subnet]


If we need to augment our mesh to cover our target area how will we do that?

  • "same stuff but on a larger physical scale"
    • mesh nodes with more broadcast power
    • some mesh nodes also have point-to-point links with each other
      • tight-beam RF
      • optical
        • laser
        • incoherent light
  • a higher order traditional network

Crazy Ideas

  • viral node generation - present captive portals on carriers that require the user to become a "infected" and themselves present captive portals to other non infected devices (zombie smartphone apocalypse)
  • make it easy and fun for people to join
    • mesh networking app in appstores
    • add something fun to make them want to install the app, like a game or a visualization
    • as long as they play once in a while, they route traffic (tamagochi effect)
  • one-stop shop router reflashing
    • flash your Linksys WAP, automatically have mesh networking support active in the background
  • TonidoPlug?
  • datacomm over
    • shortwave
      • Note: requires more than two hams to participate
    • FRS (been done before but would be an interesting experiment)
    • GMRS (been done before but would be an interesting experiment)
    • laser pointer with a photocell receiver
    • incoherent light Ronja
    • Sneakernet with rsync-like functionality (project: mnemonic?)
    • Slideshow
    • One relatively large video screen
    • One relatively decent webcam (not hard)
    • Video screen displays sequences of 2D barcodes
    • Computer with webcam reads and decodes barcodes
      • Reminds me a bit of Conway's Game of Life as a network technology.
  • Fidomail-like transfer and synchronization of data bundles
    • dialup
    • tight-beam datacomm of some kind
    • sneakernet (project: mnemonic?)
    • Cross-technology implementation
      • Web forums
      • Microblogs
      • Blogs
      • BBS software
  • Automated sending and decoding of Morse code
    • Might not be all that fast but would be easy to implement and fun to test the bandwidth of.
  • How could we abuse SMS for this?
  • Mobile nodes
    • Someone sets up a (small) node in their car and drives around slowly.
    • Set up in a backpack or under a coat
      • On bicycle
      • On rollerblades
      • On skateboard
      • ON UAV
      • On a balloon






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