Dec 22, 2009

Randy's 62nd voice blog post - Buffalo, NY 12/03/2009

Randy's 62nd voice blog post - Buffalo, NY - It's looking like Crash-Mass. 12/03/2009

From my Snapvine Voice Blog.. 

Dec 10, 2009

Do the Mesh Potato!

So I was getting caught up reading my Linux Journals while I was sitting at a customers place. And while I was reading the Linux Journal, I ran across this article named The Mesh Potato. With this as it's opening question:
What do you call an 802.11bg mesh router with a single FXS port¹ that automatically forms a peer-to-peer network and relays telephone calls without landlines or cell- phone towers? A Mesh Potato, of course.- DAVID ROWE
Wow. I thought, I've thought about this kind of thing, but I don't have the skills to create such an animal.
It brought to mind another great web find and article by, Bob Frankston who has talked and blogged about: '“Ambient Connectivity” is the ability to assume connectivity anywhere and anytime.' While Bob Frankston is primarily talking about the internet, but data bits are data bits. David and Bob ARE talking about communicating. Whether by voice (that is converted into data) or by simply data. Yes, there's a difference of bandwidth here. And the current ability of the Mesh Potato network.
I have long thought that we could easily manage our data (voice or computer or whatever the bits might be moving) without the forced use of a major player or the middle man holding the data crack pipe up to our data's lips. The Telecoms have become bookies. I've thought that our own cell phones could work in conjunction to create their own mesh network. So that when you have a arena full of people, rather then all of them trying to jam up the same cell towers they are repeaters of info and as part of the mesh data load gets shared by everyone's devices. In theory if you have a string of people from Cleveland to Mami that are close enough for each person's device to talk to the next one's down the road, the network gets strengthened, rather then a bottleneck at the Cell Tower level.
Bob Frankston has pointed out that we already have networked computers. I have computer, my next door neighbor and the guy down the street, or whole apartment complex full of people with computers that are wired up and ready to talk bits and bytes to each other. But we, you me, and the dude down the street and the others in the apartment complex have all seemingly agreed that we need to focus our data though the telecoms (Telephone Companies) pipes. He might have WiFi, and so might I. In a true Peer to Peer setup there shouldn't bee a need. Granted, my wife has a computer two feet away from mine, and we are connected locally, but we do use Google's Cloud, Online Games, Facebook etc. So there is a need is to connect to someone's server or web service. Not so much to each other directly, all the time. It's not so much how we access the web, but just that we get there.
David Rowe and crew have come up with a way via the Village Telco for the poor and un-connected to become connected. His, and his group's, brainchild is intended for a basic voice connection, the Mesh Potato, has a long way to go, to fully replace the hardware behind the scenes at our local telephone companies. But it's a start. It's a foothold. I think that it will do what the Wii did for gaming, to do the same for simple telephony. It puts to use proven, “old” tech to use in a new way. And yea, it might not fully replace the current infrastructure, in the U.S. it will certainly broaden the voices carried over it. For the poor nations, it will give them the ability to connect globally.
WHY? Why have we all fallen into step that we need to pipe our info and CASH into the data ports of the telephone companies? Well, it's where we came from. We couldn't have gotten here from there with out their existence, as the car did to the horse and buggy, I see the Mesh Potato of having the same potential. It will empower and enable people to do things that they couldn't do before. And it will do so with very little capital, and with a modicum of tech knowledge.
With the Mesh Potato, BATMAN created by , The Free Telephony project
and a little elbow grease, I see the world can get and will get connected. It might not be broadband, and it might not be even pretty to look at. But it fill the gaps of connectivity around the globe, a network of people, built and maintained by the people. It is empowerment. It gives me shivers.
Now if you excuse me, I really want to help out and be part of this project, and there is a TON of reading to do to get caught up. While I might not have the skill set with the hardware that David Row has, or the PHD of Bob Frankston, they are modern mentors, and inventors like my childhood favorite. Thomas Alva Edison.

¹ What is an FXS Port?
12 hrs, total were killed sitting. Plenty of time to get caught up and then some. Its not all bad. I do get a stipend after the first 2 hours. So it has a bittersweetness to it. It's also Par for the Course in Trucking. It's also why I'd rather be doing more Geek Related stuff and not Trucking but now I'm getting way off track and need to Veer, Swerve, get focused and back on track to what I wanted to say in the first place, least I forget what it was that I was going to say.
B.A.T.M.A.N. (better approach to mobile ad-hoc networking) is a routing protocol for multi-hop ad-hoc mesh networks.