Saturday, July 30, 2011

Peer wireless networks

Global Guerrillas


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  • Spectrum IEEE on MANETs (ad hoc peer wireless networks), the OLSR protocol, and Commotion. Simply, open source and resilient communications development to route around government shutdowns of the Internet (e.g. "the Internet Kill Switch" as sponsored by the autocrats Lieberman, Collins, and Carper): Before OLSR can be employed to bypass a throttled Internet, the technology needs to "move out of the geek-o-sphere and into the mainstream," Meinrath says. The key, he adds, is to make it really easy to install and use. The installation media that Meinrath envisions—thumb drives and the like—would be both clandestine and user friendly. A CD-ROM, for instance, could automatically install OLSR if it was put into a computer on booting up. And with a thumb drive or an SD card, installation would involve a mere click of the mouse. In addition to making it easy to set up a MANET, Commotion needs to make sure that the ad hoc networks are secure and anonymous so that citizens can use them without being afraid of persecution. To do this, Commotion will be adding a piece of software called Tor, which masks the sources and destinations of network traffic, and testing it in urban areas in the United States, such as Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. "Before we put people’s lives on the line, we want to test this out in a real-world setting," Meinrath says. Open Internet coming to a wireless router near you.

  • FunkFeuer. A grassroots community MANET in Vienna and Graz (Austria).

  • FabFi. One of my favorite projects. Used to enable ethernet over several miles (being used in Afghanistan among other places). Adds DIY hardware construction to the mix... FabFi is an open-source, FabLab-grown system using common building materials and off-the-shelf electronics to transmit wireless ethernet signals across distances of up to several miles. With Fabfi, communities can build their own wireless networks to gain high-speed internet connectivity---thus enabling them to access online educational, medical, and other resources.

FabFi test over 7 miles: