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 Forum index » House Training » Users ( For the regulars )
Meshnet server
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Joined: 07 Jan 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jan 2012, 17:16    Post subject:  Meshnet server
Subject description: Wireless alternative to the internet

I am wondering if anyone is interested in assisting or collaborating on putting together a meshnet server. Probably most people have heard of meshnet but it is a proposal to connect local areas by wireless as an alternative to the internet.

I am here at Puppy Linux because your distro is focused on lightweight and efficiency and these are the characteristics that are needed due to bandwidth limitations with the meshnet proposal. I am just one person interested in experimenting with a meshnet, and not a leader. I hope to put together a meshnet server in my neighborhood available to those that can get a wireless connection. I hope that the server will attract other people to use it and also install wireless nodes to expand the mesh.

I posted the following on reddit - darknetplan:

Meshnet implementation in a small town or neighborhood

Here are some thoughts on what I need to get a mesh started in my neighborhood.

In order to encourage development of a local mesh, there needs to be some content that makes it worthwhile for local users to connect and participate. Examples of local services that could be provided on a server node include:

*upon connection, welcome page and website with info and links to services, invitation to add a node

*text based bbs in imageboard style, posts drop off after time

*games, simple or complex as hardware and bandwidth allow

*weather, news, feeds in text format

*classified ads

*text chat

*voice chat

*local phone connections via smartphone

*streaming audio (internet radio)

*filesharing using user's pc hard drive as storage medium (samba) or perhaps on server

*bandwidth limited internet connection, configurable to limit total bandwidth, limit user bandwidth, both server and users may allow mesh limited access to internet connection

*image filesize restrictions configurable based on available server memory

*connection to external server and up/download content/feeds several times an hour via internet or other connection such as a secure tunnel

*Server design set up similar to other neighborhood meshnet servers to allow future connection/coordination via mesh when it expands

Initially the goal is to attract users with services that require limited server storage and bandwidth, but to allow these services to scale up as resources become available.

Until such time as the mesh expands to allow connection to another neighborhood/city/world, the local mesh needs to be able to stand alone if need be. But there should be a standard software so that when mesh expands connections are automatically made and server content shared in a coordinated way.

A low cost node appliance ($50) needs to be available to users who want to help expand the net by adding a node. This should be as plug and play as possible, but should allow the user to easily configure adding additional services such as allowing limited access to internet connection and filesharing.

*designed for a specific purpose: attach to existing router, attach to single computer, or standalone repeater

*low cost appliance, attach to existing router with cable, connect power, mount antenna, go

*random passwords for appliance, secure out of box, NOT user:root pass:admin, tape card with pw on appliance body?

*must have security turned on, firewall must be on out of box

*allow easy configuration for sharing of internet if desired by user

*simple filesharing with files stored on usb drive or sd card attached to user's appliance (easy mode), or on user pc with a configurable samba share.

Initially I was hoping to be able to install a server with above services on an OpenWRT router, however the services may exceed router resources. Could I set up such a system with a dedicated pc running 24/7/365 with several routers? How can I set up this type of server?

I assume there is no available node appliance as described above. How could I set up a router with OpenWRT to act as a node appliance?


In my small town situation, it is important to have content and not just be a free wifi connection to the internet. The internet providers might eventually shut down any individual giving out free internet. But if there is other content, a limited amount of free internet bandwidth per node might be tolerated or not noticed by the internet provider.

I have been looking for a way to set up the services described above. One option is an old pc with a wireless card and external antenna. I am leaning toward Puppy linux as the operating system, in part because it can be set up as a live cd. This would be a simple way for someone to set up a new server node with services. It would also be secure because the cd is not writable and the software can't be changed.

I went through my old junk pc's and found out that they are all old junk, nothing works anymore. So I will be trying to find suitable server hardware hopefully for nothing. I have an Ubdo-nt5 long range outdoor antenna, which should be a good start.

My goal at first is to set up a server that users can connect to by wireless. Then try to set up a bandwidth limited internet connection available to other users in the neighborhood.

end of reddit post.

So this is my intro post and the above explains what I am hoping to do with Puppy Linux. I would like to hear from anyone that is interested in this project.
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Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 6730
Location: Earth

PostPosted: Sat 07 Jan 2012, 17:45    Post subject:  

YES!!! 2012 MAY be a year that Puppy evolves from the desktop to begin handling the world around it....(LAN/WAN).

This would be great expansion and the community has some very unique talents who can contribute greatly. Some are Rcrsn51, JamesBond, Smokey01, DPUP5520, Flash, and others who combined with your group could forward this very needed public community project.

Just so that you are aware, governments are just now looking to shut down a public initiative in dense communities. So, you MUST act swiftly before they put in place laws forbidding this specific project. NASA (US) in 2001-2 completed a mesh project proof-of-concept with themselves, US Coast Guard and Cisco on how to do this. Then, some of it has made its way to space shuttle and ISS. They actually has a device (cheap) that could mass-produce excepting 2000-2008 government won't allow release specs for mass production. And, they have a mock-up standard available. And there is also a public (infancy) standard started awhile ago. What the NASA started standard does is allow small meshes to "link-up" to larger meshes which link to even larger meshes to cover the globe. And the most important piece of their work is that the meshes can be mobile. Thus every moving vehicle expands the network.

I hope your project's standard is the one the embraces mobile or static meshes such that a mesh is a mesh is a mesh no matter where it sits.

This is a very real need to open the door to communication with all of mankind.

I wish you Heaven's speed in getting anything useful into the public domain before enactments. This way, you will be "Grand-fathered" into the communications community. Thus, all information, and multimedia could be present without restrictions or controls.

I'll do anything helpful in testing should you get close to an implementation.

I could only hope the Puppylanders see the real community benefit in such an effort. Most of the work has merely centered on the local desktop. But, in 2011, this community began striving into expanding cooperative connectedness with the LAN. This may be one of its greatest community contributions to Open source community, yet.


P.S. Prior post on "Meshing" in Puppy forum can be found here and here2

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Joined: 07 Jan 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue 10 Jan 2012, 21:08    Post subject:  

I have Puppy running on a laptop. I may be able to get an older pc as well.

I have installed the Hiawatha server, php and mysql pet. At this time I put a Hello World index.html page and can read it from the pc using the ip number in the url. I can start mysql but it does not seem to be working right. MyphpAdmin does not work, it gives an error. I am still checking this out and reading a lot. There is a lot to learn. I am also trying to figure out what type of configuration is needed to serve a web page over wireless, it appears very complicated. Networking is very confusing but I am trying to learn.
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