K.S. Bhaskar on 29 Jan 2011 18:39:08 -0800

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [PLUG] Can wifi mesh networks make up for Internet Service non-Providers

On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM, Rich Freeman <r-plug@thefreemanclan.net> wrote:
On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 9:19 AM, Matt Berlin <arkestra@gmail.com> wrote:
> I've been thinking about this. ÂI suppose no one thinks of it until
> it's too late.
> Let's not be too late here.

I'm not sure mesh networks will ever take off until the supply of
bandwidth greatly exceeds the demand.

Mesh networks tend not to be as efficient as direct networks, and
direct networks aren't that expensive. ÂThat means that most people
will be content to stick with traditional ISPs. ÂSure, the mesh is
more resistant to disruption, but few will install a network "just in
case" big brother takes over.

[KSB] I was thinking of a customized Linux live CD that can be loaded onto a USB flash drive with something like unetbootin (and perhaps a few other useful bits of software like Tor). One wouldn't need a network to be installed just in case Big Brother takes over. One would just need a few handy that can be duplicated.

Mesh networks are pretty good for the last mile, but as distance
increases they tend to saturate since the pipes aren't big. ÂYou need
to get data off the mesh onto cables quickly for it to work. ÂThose
cables of course are easily intercepted.

Plus, if you think about geography you might have a huge mesh all
over, say, the Philadelphia Metro. ÂHowever, after some distance
population density drops and you just have strings of tiny towns along
major highways. ÂIf you stick a jammer on a few of those highways you
cut off an entire city.

[KSB] In the case of demonstrations such as those in Tunisia and Egypt, protest organizers primarily need communication within densely populated cities. Something like UUCP over dial-up phone lines at the periphery would suffice to communicate messages and photos.

Most mesh network technology is also not built with intentional
jamming in mind. ÂThe dinky transmitters in your Linksys router aren't
going to stand up when somebody just dumps 10MW of RF in the 2.4GHz
range. ÂA jammer could take out nodes for miles around. ÂYou need a
lot more nodes than jammers, and jammers aren't that expensive to
build. ÂBecause of natural corridors the jammers need not have
ubiquitous coverage either.

[KSB] True. But the jammers would also be easily identifiable and potentially vulnerable if things get nasty...

And come to think of it, mesh networks could also be built using IP over power lines, although that technology is not common.

-- Bhaskar

Now, for OLPC or something a mesh makes sense. ÂYou are going to
transmit email and stuff - not HDTV - and jamming won't be an issue
(intentional or otherwise). ÂYou can also easily put in uplinks in
each village or whatever when they aren't dense enough for the mesh to
propagate, assuming that long-distance communication is even needed.
Philadelphia Linux Users Group     --    Âhttp://www.phillylinux.org
Announcements - http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug-announce
General Discussion Â-- Â http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug

Windows does to computers what smoking does to humans
Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --        http://www.phillylinux.org
Announcements - http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug-announce
General Discussion  --   http://lists.phillylinux.org/mailman/listinfo/plug