[hackerspaces] Mesh network specs

The Doctor drwho at virtadpt.net
Wed Dec 28 23:17:19 CET 2011

Hash: SHA1

I've CC:'d the hackerspaces mailing list on this reply.  I hope that's

On 12/28/2011 02:14 PM, Todd wrote:

> The only reason to go with expensive hardware for the backhauls is,
> I am expecting a lot of signal loss and reflection because chicago
> is an urban area, and I want to pick hardware with a lot of rx/tx
> power behind it and if possible niceties like beam-shaping.

Fair enough.

> As for the router configs, I was planning for those to all be
> static IP configurations.

You're planning your mesh's nodes beforehand, so that is probably
going to be your best bet.

> I guess it would be possible to not have a captive portal and just 
> manually assign logins via a radius server ?

I don't recall off the top of my head if your mesh was going to be
public access or project-only (I blame my first vacation in a year).
If it's going to be project-only (i.e., only certain people are going
to be able to access and use your mesh) they you can set up RADIUS and
require people to log in before they escape the captive portal.  If
your mesh is going to be public access then you may wish to consider
"Acknowledge the user agreement by clicking here" and handing off a
lease with DHCP (but keep in mind that legal liability is a
possibility if someone does something illegal and you may have to be
called upon to provide evidence if it comes to that).

> As for which protoal to use, I would like to choose whichever is
> the most popular/well supported currently as programming is not my
> area of expertise.

'Popular' probably isn't a very good metric to use when picking a mesh
routing protocol.  You want to pick a mesh protocol whose strengths
play to your project's goals, whose weaknesses either don't matter for
your use case or can be mitigated easily, and which is flexible enough
to do what you need to do.  If, for example, you plan on being able to
gateway from your mesh to the Internet your mesh routing protocol
should probably support it readily, otherwise you'll pull your hair
out trying to massage it to do something it really wasn't designed for.

> Probably  OLSR or 802.11s, B.A.T.M.A.N seems popular but i'm not
> sure if it is right for this setup.

I would recommend going with the latest unstable version of OLSR
checked out of their repository because they are just now implementing
routing loop detection.  BATMAN-adv is pretty nice and works well on
embedded platforms (like DD-WRT) but has a bit of a learning curve.
We've been using Babel for Byzantium and it's been all aces in our tests.

- -- 
The Doctor [412/724/301/703]

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