[serval-project-dev] Why wireless mesh networks wonbt save us from censorship
jeremy at servalproject.org
Sun Nov 27 01:32:39 PST 2011
"Reason 1: Management is hard and expensive."
That's why we want a network that auto-discovers topology. And
provides easy to use debugging information to assist in placement of
"Reason 2: Omni-directional antennas suck. ... Reason 3: Your RF
tricks wonbt help you here. ... Reason 4: Single-radio equipment
doesnbt work; multi-radio equipment is very expensive."
Fair enough. But we don't actually plan to build a wifi mesh network
covering the globe. One un-censored connection to the internet is
enough to join each little mesh network into the global internet.
Store and forward; and wandering nodes may be enough to enable *some*
communication in places where there isn't enough coverage yet for
real-time traffic. Some communication is better than none.
"Reason 5: Unplanned mesh networks break routing"
Well, partly. Sure you're going to use bandwidth in order to compute
routing paths. But I think this is not insurmountable. Definitely
needs to be more work in this area though to ensure you avoid routing
loops and black holes. And this is something that we are already
researching and plan to tackle further.
"unplanned wireless mesh networks never work at scale"
Yep, there's an "event horizon" issue. If you spend too much bandwidth
describing remote paths through the network, you'll have nothing left
for actual data. So we absolutely need to limit the distribution of
full topology information to ensure that local nodes can still
communicate even if the greater mesh network is practically infinite.
Beyond that limit you either interconnect via the internet, or we
invent some other high level structure, address prefix / numbering
There are 2 billion(-ish) people out there with no affordable access
to communications. This is absolutely a problem we should be
dedicating time to solve. Not just to "fight Internet censorship", but
to allow these people to be heard.
On Sun, Nov 27, 2011 at 7:17 PM, Alasdair Mclellan
<alasdair at servalproject.org> wrote:
> There are a bunch of good points in this article, but none of them take into
> account the simple facts that;
> 1) An unplanned mesh is better than nothing (and 'nothing' is our primary
> use case), and
> 2) Everyone has a handset.
> Replacing the Internet with an unplanned mesh is, indeed, hard - especially
> when you need a dedicated node type to do so. Using people's existing
> handsets changes the game a bit (although exactly how much remains to be
> Just my quick $0.02.
> On Sun, Nov 27, 2011 at 5:54 PM, Ben Hughes <ben at benrhughes.com> wrote:
>> Via hackernews. Would be interested in hearing what tguys think, seeing as
>> you have lots of real-world experience.
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