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The Green Bastard

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local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« on: December 21, 2009, 11:44:22 AM »

Hey,

A caller was speaking with Ian and Mark a couple months back regarding wireless mesh networks and what he perceived would become a new version of the internet.

The idea was that individuals would use a standard, off the shelf, wireless router running modified code that would allow it to act as a node on this new wireless mesh.

In theory, if enough people/neighborhoods jumped on board in populated areas, a new, non-internet connected network would be created.

This really intrigues me, I design large indoor and outdoor wireless installs as part of my job and would like to play around taking this to the neighborhood level (and beyond as time goes by).

 I am just wondering what project the caller was referring to. Is there a current standard or group of people I can look up to do a little more research?

Thanks.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2009, 11:49:09 AM by KTOKTO »
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BobRobertson

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2009, 02:48:47 PM »

In theory, if enough people/neighborhoods jumped on board in populated areas, a new, non-internet connected network would be created.

Except for one thing: Hop Count.

Such ad-hoc networking gets inefficient very quickly.

I suggest a google, -ahem- I mean a startpage.com search for "ad-hoc mesh network".

You might also be interested in an "obsolete" technology which would see a resurgence if real-time networking gets shut down by Big Brother: Fidonet

As is usual when people bring up "what would we do without...", just look around and see what people DID without x.
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"I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
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TimeLady Victorious

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 03:18:46 PM »

Google "hamgate."

Then mod an off-the-shelf Linksys router to be compatible with your ham radio, set it up.
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The Green Bastard

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2009, 06:43:49 PM »

I do find packet radio intriguing due to the long ranges you can get for little cash but I don't see it being the next big thing :)

I could set a hamgate up and host ASCII art Asian porn I guess :)
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mikehz

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 06:47:21 PM »

It works okay for amateur radio, but I think it would crash, or at least bog way down, once too many users climbed on board.
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KDus

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2009, 06:59:24 PM »

I once got about 1000 feet with a pair of stock linksys routers. Probably could do better with those off the shelf antenna upgrades.
Ham has pretty pathetic data rates. Because of the narrow bandwidth they're "allowed" to use.
There are some cute, no license, spread spectrum radios out there that will go to at least 256k
With pro gear, we send 2Mbits: The TV guys send 20Mb
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Bill Brasky

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2009, 08:07:57 PM »

The problem with an intranet is you'd be sharing whats inside the net, right?

I'm pretty sure I don't give a shit about one single person in a thirty mile radius, since I have trouble staying entertained with the entire world at my fingertips. 
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hellbilly

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2009, 08:16:43 PM »

I think I remember this call- but wasn't the idea to have an instant neighborhood alert system? I'd be keen on that too.
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Bill Brasky

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 08:42:50 PM »

I think I remember this call- but wasn't the idea to have an instant neighborhood alert system? I'd be keen on that too.

A civic-minded person could set this up easily with a local forum and an RSS feed.  You'd just have to keep pushing it so it didn't lapse into disuse.  Advertise local stuff on it, like garbage-day changes at the municipal level, softball sign-ups, the lunch calendar at the High School, that kind of thing.  Send the local Boy Scouts around to hook up the old folks, show 'em how it works.  They'd be wacky over it, especially once it saved a life or caught a vandal. 

Its always kinda surprised me that the 'net never really trickled down into the local stuff yet, in this manner.  I suppose it does exist in some localities, but its probably so frigging boring that it never catches fire, and we just never hear of it. 
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spicynujac

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 08:58:31 PM »

Wireless mesh networks get faster, not slower, as the number of users increases, as there is more bandwidth available.  And significant work *IS* being done on this area, only it is targeted towards developing nations, not the US.  In the US, they want to sell each of us a $59.99 monthly subscription to send data, when it could be done for free through wireless mesh networking.  The most well known example of this is the One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC).  Also, a wireless mesh network could be connected to the internet, or not.  You only need a small number (even ONE) of nodes connected to the outside net.

This is a pretty good article.
http://communication.howstuffworks.com/how-wireless-mesh-networks-work.htm

Incidentally, I was having a conversation the other day about how all this fearmongering about "securing" your wireless network is really all just a scam to make people paranoid so there are no open networks so each person has to buy their own subscription.  Now, if I lived in an apt complex I wouldnt want 50 other people hogging my bandwidth, but if a few neighbors want to use it, no problem.
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BobRobertson

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2009, 09:54:27 AM »

Wireless mesh networks get faster, not slower, as the number of users increases, as there is more bandwidth available.

Available, yes, but to where?

Quote
And significant work *IS* being done on this area, only it is targeted towards developing nations, not the US.  In the US, they want to sell each of us a $59.99 monthly subscription to send data, when it could be done for free through wireless mesh networking.

But not at the speeds people expect for that kind of money.

Dialup still works just fine, but people don't choose to use it if there is an alternative available.

Quote
This is a pretty good article.
http://communication.howstuffworks.com/how-wireless-mesh-networks-work.htm

Ah, I see that search did some good.

Quote
Now, if I lived in an apt complex I wouldnt want 50 other people hogging my bandwidth, but if a few neighbors want to use it, no problem.

So put an old 802.11b access point on a spare ethernet port, turn on DHCP, packet forwarding and NAT, and rate-limit it. That's what I've done, easy on Linux can't help you with Windows, but out here in suburbia the house-to-house distances are too great.

There is an open ad-hoc "freenet" in a few places even in this hopeless burg, but sadly not near me.
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"I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, April 26th 1820

Sam Gunn (since nobody got Admiral Naismith)

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2009, 01:26:02 PM »


So put an old 802.11b access point on a spare ethernet port, turn on DHCP, packet forwarding and NAT, and rate-limit it. That's what I've done, easy on Linux can't help you with Windows, but out here in suburbia the house-to-house distances are too great.

There is an open ad-hoc "freenet" in a few places even in this hopeless burg, but sadly not near me.
Easy with windows too.
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spicynujac

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 03:27:03 AM »


But not at the speeds people expect for that kind of money.

Dialup still works just fine, but people don't choose to use it if there is an alternative available.

The technology is available for much faster transfer speeds, and this could be done on a free and open mesh network.  The fact that a mesh network that you may have access to in the US is several times slower than the service you pay for is a reflection of the adoption of the technology by the masses, not a weakness in the technology itself.

In fact, hardware exists for gigabit wireless mesh networking, and you can read about it here
http://www.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/SENSORCOMM.2008.117
It is many times faster than any wired or wireless internet service you can pay for as a consumer.  The point is, the technology is there if you want it.  The limitations are social, not technological.
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BobRobertson

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2009, 07:42:02 AM »

The limitations are social, not technological.

Which leads me to conclude that there is some government regulation in the way, or some smart schmucks would have started implementing it already.

Something to keep in mind: Political problems are not solved by technology, any more than a technological problem can be solved by politics.
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"I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, April 26th 1820

TimeLady Victorious

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Re: local wireless mesh network caller a couple months back
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2009, 12:28:43 PM »

The limitations are social, not technological.

Which leads me to conclude that there is some government regulation in the way, or some smart schmucks would have started implementing it already.

Something to keep in mind: Political problems are not solved by technology, any more than a technological problem can be solved by politics.

There is no government regulation in the way, people just want to keep as much Internet as they can for themselves.
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