Over the past two years I've been co-creating People's Open Network, a community owned and operated next-generation mesh network developed by the sudo mesh organization and currently undergoing beta testing in Oakland, CA. The aim of peoplesopen.net is to become a viable alternative to corporate ISPs as well as an emergency fallback network.
Quick update: We're still very actively working on the mesh. I've personally had less time due to taking on a full time job, but I've still been working on a new watchdog setup. Hardware watchdogs are little circuits that cause computers to automatically reboot if you don't tell them "everything is ok" every few seconds. This new system caused me to have to write the tool watchpuppy and patch procd (OpenWRTs process manager). It should all be ready in a couple of weeks and then we'll never have to ask a node operator the dreade question "have you tried turning it off and on again?". Dave Taht, main author of cerowrt and the bufferboat patches (fixes to the linux network stack for the problem where someone e.g. torrenting will disrupt your voip calls) came by sudo mesh and taught us how to use his code, so now his fixes are enabled in our firmware! Max has been working on getting the fake captive portal production ready. You probably know about real captive portals and you probably hate them (the web pages where you have to click on something or pay before you use a wifi network) and we have no intention of implementing such a terrible system. Nowadays most devices detect the presence of fake captive portals and automatically pop up the captive portal page when you connect. We've made a system where we trick the captive portal detection mechanisms so they will display a little info page saying "welcome to the mesh, this is what we're about" but actually you are already fully connected to the mesh so devices without displays or captive portal detection will just connect normally. We feel that it will be important to let people know why they're getting free wifi, at least until most locals know about People's Open Network :)
Jenny Ryan, co-organizer of People's Open Network represented sudo mesh at this year's BattleMesh event in Maribor, Slovenia and wrote up an excellent report summarizing the activities. The recorded talks have been slowly appearing here, including a very informative talk on the Babel routing protocol (which we use in our firmware).
We started rolling out our beta network. We're expecting to have about 20 active nodes by the end of September with a high-speed network in West Oakland spanning at least five houses. Only a few issues remain before we can release our 0.2 firmware. Slow roll-out will continue as we work towards 1.0 status
We're working an extremely cheap solar powere sensor device for urban community gardens. The device will report soil moisture and when people are working in the garden (senses if the gate is open). It will be easy to make, cost less than $10, use only off-the-shelf components and report to a simple web app via People's Open Network. The first community garden has been selected and covered by People's Open Network and we're busy developing the moisture sensing and power management code. Hardware is an ESP8266 powered by two $1 solar garden lights (with integrated NiCd AAA batteries) two heat-shrink-insulated sticks of metal as capacitance sensor probes and a cheap input selector to switch between inputs for the single ADC pin. Software is a simple modified esp8266-frankenstein firmware.
The FCC is making it illegal for manufactureres to give users root access to their own devices!
The new laws go into effect June 2016.
Help us fight back!