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Incentivized mesh, building a last mile of our own #182
[ UUID ] 4208b203-9e52-41e6-8782-0b52517c6b38
[ Session Name ] Incentivized mesh, building a last mile of our own
[ Submitter's Name ] Justin Kilpatrick
[ Additional facilitators ] Jehan Tremback
What will happen in your session?
We will present Althea (http://altheamesh.com/) the first incentiveized mesh protocol, where nodes are paid for their participation in routing using decentralized cryptocurrency micropayments.
We will discuss details of the implementation, present the sourcecode (already on github) and provide a live demo on single board computers of an Althea network providing low cost decentralized access to the internet with resistance to hostile actors.
What is the goal or outcome of your session?
To demonstrate that incentiveized mesh is not only possible but feasible as a way to provide connectivity to people around the world by lowering the barrier of entry for being an infrastructure provider to an investment normal people can make and expect a return on. Helping connect the developing and developed world.
If your session requires additional materials or electronic equipment, please outline your needs.
We need a projector and ideally some foreknowlege of the room/environment we will be presenting in, we might for example want to adjust the transmit power on the radios to ensure that nodes can't reach the exit on one hop. That way we can better demonstrate the operation of the network.
less than 60 mins
Hey @jkilpatr. This concept sounds exciting, and a live demo would be great. I'm sure we can sort out knowledge of the room/environment beforehand.
Would it be the kind of thing that might also suit being 'installed' for the whole weekend? It'd be super cool to have our own mesh wireless ISP across the space if that's anything like achievable.
Also, stupid question: when you say 'radios', I guess you mean unlicensed (Wifi/BT/400meg) stuff?
@jontutcher we're really excited to be giving this a try. The demo we envision right now is to have a few portable handheld nodes and an exit uplink. The presenters (Jehan and I) will walk around streaming Netflix or generally using the internet and the audience participants goal is to make the best and most profitable bridge from us to the exit uplink. The challenge here is that we need a dynamic environment to make things interesting, if it's one small conference room then we either have to attenuate the radios (hard to get right, especially with varying levels of noise on the unlicensed spectrum we'll be using during the day), bring in fake walls (maybe have more volunteers be signal obstacles?), or we could just move into a larger area.
We definitely can't provide service to the whole conference center, but an in place demo could be done in a booth like arrangement where participants get in the way of various nodes on pedestals and watch how that affects how much money is being used by the nodes in the network. We could also do this kind of demo during our presentation, if the logistical challenges of setting up the more mobile game-like activity above prove too difficult.
Jehan and I really only have the time and resources to set up one of these, we've got a lot of development and testing to do in order to be ready on time. We'd love you're feedback on the ideas though both for what you would like to see and what you think can work best.
Hey @jtremback - @cubicgarden probably has better advice on audiences so I'll let him chip in too. I'd be tempted to keep your presentation accessible to those who aren't domain experts, but maybe be ready to go into the technical details if you're asked (I'd certianly be interested!)
With regards to the demo & RF environment, I think we can build in some time for testing and adapting the room if we need to. Ravensbourne have lots of space dividers that we might be able to faraday cage-ify if necessary!
We're going to have 10 little devices so it will basically be 10 volunteers walking around with raspberry pis and looking at the numbers on their screens. We're going to do a test of the activity towards the end of August, and we'll be able to tell you more about our needs then. Wifi-opaque barriers would probably make it more interesting, but if we could probably do it without them as well if it's too hard to get together. This is basically a game, and the wifi radios will be turned way down to make it more interesting, so we don't foresee much interference with other wifi networks (is that what ravensbourne might go nuts about?).
We like the idea of making it available for people passing by in the conference to try out, depending on the details. We'd probably need to attend it and explain it to people, but we're willing to do that.
Since an activity like this is especially susceptible to demo bugs, we have a fallback of doing a demo of the devices operated by us at the front of the room. Worst case scenario will be a film of a previous demo.
We've been polishing our demo a little more, here's a video
At this point I'm pretty confident we can deal with whatever the RF situation is, we've run these in several places and made dozens tweaks to ensure everything keeps working well regardless of the surrounding RF conditions.
Since we are using 802.11 we won't interfere with emplaced wifi at all so long as we stick to a non interfering channel. A wifi scanner phone app and 30 seconds is all we need to figure that out.
As an aside even if we choose the wrong channel the radios in these devices just aren't all that powerful, in an interference game they lose. We set the channel for our own benefit.