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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)

Roblimo posted about 2 years ago | from the also-good-in-case-of-vampire-attacks dept.

Networking 124

Project Byzantium calls itself Ad-hoc wireless mesh networking for the zombie apocalypse. It's also potentially useful for less-thrilling emergencies, such as floods, earthquakes, and political uprisings (or getting everyone at the office their /. fix when the network goes down). The latest version debuted at the HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in July, 2012. You can download your very own copy of Byzantium any time you like. Hopefully you will then burn a dozen or so CDs (it's compact enough that it doesn't need a DVD) for friends and neighbors, so that if you suddenly see zombies approaching and your regular ISP has already been overrun and isn't working, you can set up a wireless mesh network and coordinate your anti-zombie efforts. And you won't even need to use the command line. (slides and audio of their presentation)

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Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025317)

My WiFi connection has trouble reaching the 2nd floor bedroom!

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about 2 years ago | (#41025381)

This does seem useless for anybody not it a big city. My closest neighbor is a good 1/4 mile away.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025449)

9dbi antenna and external wifi adapter FTW (the last I tested worked well upto a mile in the boonies)

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (4, Funny)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about 2 years ago | (#41025799)

9dbi antenna and external wifi adapter FTW (the last I tested worked well upto a mile in the boonies)

You are assuming that my neighbors are in any way tech savvy? The guy closest to me was taken by surprise when the TV system went digital.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | about 2 years ago | (#41025941)

Well, you're already in a zombie "safe" location and have no need of a communication network then :P

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025977)

9dbi antenna and external wifi adapter FTW (the last I tested worked well upto a mile in the boonies)

You are assuming that my neighbors are in any way tech savvy? The guy closest to me was taken by surprise when the TV system went digital.

You are assuming neighbors in a big city are more technically savvy. I can tell you that living in Boca Raton, this is definitely not the case.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#41026605)

Sorry, friend, but Boca Raton is NOT a big city.

Even if you include all of Palm Beach County.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026051)

IP over avian carrier :P

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 2 years ago | (#41025467)

Put the antenna higher up or use a directional one. Absorption by the environment is usually even worse than inverse square losses.

With clear line of sight and no Fresnel zone obstruction, a quarter mile should be completely possible. Look up the distance record, it's remarkable.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (3, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#41025703)

Doesn't a directional antenna kind of defeat the idea of a mesh network? Or are we off topic now?

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025959)

Directional antennas are perfectly in line with the idea of a mesh network. The problems that mesh networks try to solve are topological. The single most important aspect of a mesh network is that it's self-organizing, which means you can add and remove links ad hoc and the network reconfigures itself to use the available links. Type and distance of individual links are secondary concerns. You can build a mesh network out of wired Ethernet links if you want to. The focus on wireless links is just a result of them being easier to create ad hoc than wired connections.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (2)

CityZen (464761) | about 2 years ago | (#41026331)

Most wifi stations allow for more than 1 antenna.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41030053)

And even if they don't there's no reason you can't use another adapter to provide local short-range access.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 2 years ago | (#41030529)

depends how directional it is. You can narrow down the 90x180 deg been pattern by a lot and still hit more than one target. Also, connecting at all with a directional antenna is better than connecting to no-one with out one.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (3, Interesting)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | about 2 years ago | (#41025755)

With directional antennas and amplifiers, I've set up a stable 802.11b connection at 17 miles. I remember reading that Cisco had one going between mountaintops at 50 miles. All of this was 5 years ago, so things are probably more impressive today.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41027051)

Impressiveness is affected by time because it's subject to inflation.

All you need is line of sight (1)

Aethelred Unread (2567841) | about 2 years ago | (#41028371)

Impressiveness is affected by time because it's subject to inflation.

I've easily connected to a ferry's access point from the top of a hill that was 5km away. That was with a cheap usb wifi card on a long usb cord dangling from my car's FM radio antenna. I have a 300 foot building to building 3 AP 802.11b/g client/repeater setup on channels 1 and 11 respectively at my cabin. This is with cheap dlinks and one wrt54G v6 which is the crappiest of the wrt54G's. And you get clear signal on a small island about 100 metres off shore. It is running right now so don't worry about inflation. Go try some of this stuff yourself; it is amazing what link distances are achievable with some planning and basic knowledge of antennas, Fresnel zones and line of sight.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025689)

We're all missing the obvious solution where we turn each zombie into an access point [techeye.net] . When the horde is clawing at your boarded up home, you'll have an excellent signal.

Doing half mile with default open mesh, no prob (2)

witherstaff (713820) | about 2 years ago | (#41027083)

I'm 2 blocks from my office which has DSL, but the house is in a different phone exchange and at the end of that run so no DSL available. I'm using open-mesh to get to my house. I go from an outdoor open-mesh on the office to non line of site outdoor unit out on a neighbor's barn. Then across a field to my house (I'm semi rural). I'm only getting around 3 meg of speed but it's better than the 22k modem option. This is with the default omni antenna on the open mesh gear. Nice equipment for less than 100 for an outdoor unit.

Of course if the zombies hit who's going to have power to be running these things?

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (2)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41025673)

Your WiFi router has a legally-mandated limit on signal strength. Hopefully the FCC will be a little less zealous once the first zombies appear.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (2)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#41025753)

Your WiFi router has a legally-mandated limit on signal strength. Hopefully the FCC will be a little less zealous once the first zombies appear.

This reminds me of a guy I knew around Y2k. Moved all of his stuff off into a cabin in the woods (he wouldn't tell us where) in October of 1999. The thing I thought was hilarious is that he also got a Ham radio license around that time, so that he could use the radios after civilization fell. I know that your car will still start for people who don't have a driver's license; I assume ham radios work the same way...

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41027927)

My favorite episode of King of the Hill is the one where everybody goes crazy about Y2K. Peggy wants a computer for her birthday, but Hank gets her a grandfather clock instead. Dale, the neighborhood survivalist and conspiracy nut, fills his basement with Mountain Dew and what he thinks is the seed of a hamster farm. When his wife points out that one of his breeding pair is actually a gerbil, he threatens not to share his "gerbster meat" with her!

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41030317)

But you need a license to operate them right now, otherwise the FCC will eventually notice. If you want to prepare for the collapse of civilisation, it's not enough to just have the radio: You also need experience operating it, and contacts with others in range. If you already know each other it is much easier to coordinate.

Re:Wireless Mesh Network? (1)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030373)

in genuine emergencies the fcc tends to turn a blind eye to violators who are aiding the effort to help people in need. that said it helps to have actually done things before you need them to work 100% so that you can shake out all the bugs and gain some experience.

Why not... (4, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#41025435)

Why not simply flip your WiFi port from 'infrastructure' to 'ad-hoc'?

Re:Why not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025707)

I don't want my neighbors to see my collection of Kardashian pictures.

Re:Why not... (1)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#41025783)

Kim didn't want the world to see her videos, either. But it worked out in the end. Now she's a gazillionaire. Just goes to show ya, ya never know how life's gonna turn out.

Re:Why not... (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#41026139)

Kim didn't want the world to see her videos, either.

I'm going to go out on a ledge here... yeah, she did.

Re:Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029007)

Nothing like having your dad shop your sextape around for the most cash.

Re:Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025835)

I don't want my neighbors to see my collection of Kardashian pictures.

Believe it or not, but zombies are actually only interested in Kardashian's for their brains.

Re:Why not... (2)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#41025901)

So it's like cornish hens then? People like them for the way they look, not the actual amount of nourishment they provide?

Re:Why not... (5, Informative)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | about 2 years ago | (#41026393)

Why not simply flip your WiFi port from 'infrastructure' to 'ad-hoc'?

In regular ad-hoc, you can see the people around you, but not reach their neighbours (there is no routing by default). Byzantium uses babeld, which is a routing layer over an "ad hoc" mode. The mesh network automatically recalculates routes, depending on their signal and link saturation. If you're into networking, it's really trivial to setup and lots of fun (especially with ipv6, although ipv4 works too of course).

Re:Why not... (1)

funky_vibes (664942) | about 2 years ago | (#41027909)

Because of the 4 node limit

Is that us? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025447)

Is that what we look like to "regular" people? That looks like the 3 Musketeers of Virginity

Re:Is that us? (2)

WarJolt (990309) | about 2 years ago | (#41025711)

Dress like whatever you want if it's halloween or you're at a Star Trek convention.

All their issues they talk about and try to solve are important and quite frankly dressing like that makes it hard for anyone to take them seriously.
These guys are obviously intelligent. It would be nice is they dressed in a way that reflects that.

If I was a university professor considering showing this to my students as a way to teach my students about mesh networks, then I would have some reservations.

Come on nerds... Dress for success ;-)

Re:Is that us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026317)

I have to wonder if these comments about clothing are a nerd equivalent of Gabby Douglas' hair.

Re:Is that us? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41030341)

I've seen worse. There's a certain group I know of that dabbles in high-energy experiments. Capacitor bank and such. But when you see their group shot... http://birds-are-nice.me/explodium/mk7.html [birds-are-nice.me]

Doomsday Pie ... Yay! (2)

dahl_ag (415660) | about 2 years ago | (#41025487)

Great! You can still check out Doomsday Pie [doomsdaypie.com] and find out that you aren't the only one fighting off zombies as everyone will be tweeting the Zombie Apocalypse in real time.

Re:Doomsday Pie ... Yay! (1)

korpenkraxar (1731280) | about 2 years ago | (#41028911)

Bad link - expected cool distro for the Raspberry Pi :-D

Great idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025647)

Now make it work on an android phone.

forget food, get on the internet (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41025685)

so if there is a natural disaster i'm not supposed to worry about finding food, medical help and anything else to survive but immediately start surfing the internet?

and even if i did do this, only the naive morons will start advertising that they have food and are willing to share.

Where are your priorities, man? (1)

cruff (171569) | about 2 years ago | (#41025793)

so if there is a natural disaster i'm not supposed to worry about finding food, medical help and anything else to survive but immediately start surfing the internet?

Geez, get your priorities straight, you are supposed to have enough stockpiled what you need in your mom's basement to last for years already so you don't have to even go upstairs. Of course your first priority is to help maintain the integrity of the post-apocalypse Intertubes!

Re:forget food, get on the internet (3, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | about 2 years ago | (#41025863)

so if there is a natural disaster i'm not supposed to worry about finding food, medical help and anything else to survive but immediately start surfing the internet?

No, if there's a natural disaster, you are supposed to worry about finding those things. Part of the theory behind these things is that a mesh network could help the people trying to provide them tell the people trying to find them where they are. Think about New Orleans, or even 9/11. The cell phone towers were not effective. But a mesh network might have been.

Re:forget food, get on the internet (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#41025919)

so if there is a natural disaster i'm not supposed to worry about finding food, medical help and anything else to survive but immediately start surfing the internet?

Establishing communications helps groups of people coordinate tasks -- including tasks like identifying and distributing available survival necessities.

Computer networks aren't just for surfing the web.

Re:forget food, get on the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026017)

Why not use a slash dot haters big bloated head (with self importance) and use it to catch all the either waves?

Re:forget food, get on the internet (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41026301)

How do setting-up mesh networks help if the internet is down?
As for food you should be taking-advantage of Alex Jones once-per-Christmas survival packs. 2 years of storable food for about $2000. (Made by an outside company not jones.)

Re:forget food, get on the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026699)

RTFA. The project is pretty clear about that. The distro contains self-erecting infrastructure for messaging and the like. No Internet required.

Re:forget food, get on the internet (1)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030701)

as the previous comment stated we added a bunch of network services to the livedistro and if you have ideas on other things to add you can create issues on our github page http://github.com/Byzantium/Byzantium/issues [github.com] we would love to have more ideas on what could be included for emergencies and we will probably be asking for similar ideas for community mesh networks in the near future for a separate but related project. also those food bins tend to be stuff you can get cheaper at the grocery store or online crammed in a 5gal bucket and they don't last forever so you need to cycle the food in the bucket so you don't have a rotten food supply when SHTF.

Re:forget food, get on the internet (1)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | about 2 years ago | (#41026751)

Seriously? In a flood, earthquake or political uprising, you food, water and shelter, obviously, but you will need communications too.

That's like saying we shouldn't focus on software freedom because there is still lots of hunger in the world, dictators and corporate overlords running wild. We do what we do because we're good at it.

So what are you up to? :)

Re:forget food, get on the internet (1)

Idbar (1034346) | about 2 years ago | (#41026937)

Certainly, if there's a flood, you'll hope your devices are waterproofed as well.

In any case, any pointers to the actual routing algorithm? The most troubling part of the mesh/Ad-hoc networks if keeping tables, flooding packets, and finding the destination (i.e. All the routing) it would be nice to see what's this approach using and what are it's features (power consumption, better routing algorithms, etc).

Re:forget food, get on the internet (2)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030753)

we are using babeld by default http://www.pps.univ-paris-diderot.fr/~jch/software/babel/ [univ-paris-diderot.fr] . it's has mathematically proven loop avoidance. most protocols also don't pass the full routing table around anymore. babeld has gotten past 500 nodes spanning 3 countries at a battlemesh in europe.

Re:forget food, get on the internet (2)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#41027095)

Idiot, food is whichever delivery I order, so of course I'll need internet to find food in an emergency... jesus it's like they let anyone post here.

/s

Re:forget food, get on the internet (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#41027111)

In a natural disaster, the rules change. What was a 5 minutes trip may now be a life-endangering trip. If you can know where the roads are cut, where the gangs are shooting people, where medical help is being sent, you will risk far less. You'll know if it is worth swimming all the way to downtown.
And if you know where an hospital has been sent or tell a rescue team where you are, you can save lives. Communications network is a thing that rescue teams set up on day one to coordinate their teams.

Re:forget food, get on the internet (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | about 2 years ago | (#41028639)

After hurricane Hugo hit, my dad looked at the mess of fallen trees and then headed to the first working pay phone he could find, where he ordered a chainsaw from Sears, thereby bypassing depleted inventory and exploitive prices. These days, with internet ordering, communications is pretty important. It's how we got our generator after the derecho a month or so ago. (Although we used a store's free wifi and not an ad-hoc mesh network.) There sure as heck weren't any to be had locally.

This could be useful in Syria, which currently seems to be inhabited by zombies.

immediately (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 years ago | (#41031123)

Immediately, no, but communication after a disaster is nothing to be sneezed at.

Communication is one of the components of long term survival. Id say within the top 5.

Stop right now. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025693)

Calling your distro 'bath salts' is offensive. Connecting Linux and zombies is offensive and ridiculous. Wearing a pirate outfit is an outrage to free software.

Please get out of Linux, it's for serious people only.

Re:Stop right now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025869)

why so serious?

Re:Stop right now. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025929)

I bet you they are all Obama voters.

Re:Stop right now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025951)

I wouldn't say it's offensive, but it's pretty stupid. The zombie thing is a little played out as well.

Re:Stop right now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41029743)

the bathsalts thing was a joke because there was the whole scare about those people eating other people (despite them not having taken bathsalts which we had already heard when we named it that).
the saying goes "if you are prepared for the zombie apocalypse, you are prepared for anything". and our first two use cases (the serious ones) are katrina-like scenarios and egypt-like scenarios and we tossed zombies on there as a joke.
also ben always dresses that way ... seriously ... it's weird sometimes.
also how is any of this offensive? also why is the way someone dresses in anyway relevant to the way they license software? stalman eats his toe cheese on camera in the middle of an academic event and i don't hear people calling that an affront to free software :P we were at a hacker conference in a sound booth thrown together from insulation foam panels next to a segway race track and across from a booth from the pirate party of MA with an agent of telecomix dressed as a pink pirate ... this was not a formal event to be sure :P

Re:Stop right now. (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41026467)

Please get out of Linux, it's for serious people only.

"Note that nobody reads every post in linux-kernel. In fact, nobody who expects to have time left over to actually do any real kernel work will read even half. Except Alan Cox, but he's actually not human, but about a thousand gnomes working in under-ground caves in Swansea. None of the individual gnomes read all the postings either, they just work together really well."
  - Linus Torvalds (https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!msg/fa.linux.kernel/iQtWFALi4JA/eSzv64_tOvoJ%5B1-25%5D)

...what were you saying about Linux being 'for serious people only'?

Thank you very much. (1)

c9brown (1828396) | about 2 years ago | (#41026653)

We need some hackers with a human touch.

./ fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025721)

You're getting funny!

no windows updates in zombie land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025787)

this is a joke, because most wifi drivers for linux only
support the "client" mode, not even ad-hoc or master/infrastructure!
mesh network? im sooo excited, theoretically ...

Re:no windows updates in zombie land (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41027329)

[citation needed]

mod uP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41025935)

become an unwanted Or a public club,

Also saw this presented at FOSSCON - good stuff. (1)

Keck (7446) | about 2 years ago | (#41025957)

These guys did a very similar presentation on the project last weekend at FOSSCON, too [ http://fosscon.org/speakers [fosscon.org] ].
I think this is the kind of project that could use more eyes, and hands. Not just for the tech side, either - projects that have this kind of basic-underlying freedom philosophy, and are clearly seeking to enable distributed communication and computing are in everyone's interest, IMHO.

Re:Also saw this presented at FOSSCON - good stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026117)

Did the middle guy dress like a pirate at that convention too?

Router firmware? (3)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#41026101)

Is there a distribution of Tomato/DD-WRT/OpenWRT with this preinstalled?

Re:Router firmware? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#41027255)

+1. I can see that being very beneficial. Of course, there are the hacking issues and so on, but it's a good idea.

Re:Router firmware? (1)

Sitwon (2710277) | about 2 years ago | (#41027623)

I recommend Commotion Wireless.
http://commotionwireless.net/ [commotionwireless.net]

Re:Router firmware? (1)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030929)

there is already a babel package and a luci plugin for it in openwrt and babel is the primary magic sauce in byzantium. the services are all easy to setup on linux systems (except status.net kinda sorta) and they are all projects run by other people that we just borrowed from. there isn't really any specific requirement at the moment for what exactly those services are and as long as they don't actively interfere with the protocols used by the mesh it would add to the mesh to have any services running when people connect rather than an empty network where people don't have anything to do or ways to connect. the stuff we selected was selected with our use case in mind and there aren't many things that can't run over a mesh so the services you provide are up to you and your use case. aside from the babeld configs and the BSSID we don't have much in the way of compatibility restrictions either.

Mesh network in Montreal (2)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | about 2 years ago | (#41026135)

We're building a mesh network in Montreal, putting antennas on our roofs or windows. It's impressive what can be done with OpenWRT running babeld or babeld, and 100$ or less worth of hardware. Also a nice way to connect various free software hacking groups, and.. neighbours. http://wiki.reseaulibre.ca/ [reseaulibre.ca]

Check out also: http://freenetworkfoundation.org/ [freenetwor...dation.org]

Re:Mesh network in Montreal (1)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | about 2 years ago | (#41026999)

oops, I meant: babeld or batman-adv

Re:Mesh network in Montreal (1)

schwaang (667808) | about 2 years ago | (#41030857)

I wonder if you guys have put any bandwidth preservation measures in place in case of a natural disaster than limits connectivity between the mesh and the outside. I'm thinking if a giant mutant beaver takes out a dam that fries nearby telcos, you don't want somebody on a Skype video chat using up the lone remaining Pringle can-to-mountain top link. But then, that's more of an issue for the Project Byzantium use cases than yours I guess.

PS -- please tell me you didn't create 68 slashdot accounts just to get that UID.

Re:Mesh network in Montreal (1)

Mathieu Lutfy (69) | about 2 years ago | (#41031101)

We're not there yet, our network is relatively small and geeky, we're installing lots of antennas these days (we just did a bulk order of 25 ubnt bullets with 15dbi antennas, and aprox 10-12 nodes already running).

Most mesh routing protocols have features to limit bandwidth. It's also possible to control that on the exit node (those who provide Internet connectivity).

A fun thing about mesh networks: the more users you have, the more capacity there is (more nodes relaying traffic). The challenge is then on the exit nodes, and there's ways to control that. However, I think that as Byzantium is doing, we want to rely as much as possible on inter-mesh usage (apps that are "auto-discovery-happy" and decentralized).

For example, our wiki runs ikiwiki, which, thanks to its git backend, allows us to run multiple "master" instances.

Science Fiction... (3, Interesting)

BionicPimp (562378) | about 2 years ago | (#41026185)

Vernor Vinge [wikipedia.org] was my networking teacher at SDSU... He mentioned an idea in passing similar to this (around 1997ish), except that in his vision, the network would be explosively formed. Imagine that you could get these nodes down to the size of a quarter. maybe it had a solar cell + battery combo. You could fire off a missle or a shell over a field of battle, a low yield explosive would disperse these nodes over some area, and would automatically create a mesh network. I still think that the idea has merit, maybe somehow install Byzantium into a tiny embedded controllers, etc...

Re:Science Fiction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026857)

Imagine that you could get these nodes down to the size of a quarter. maybe it had a solar cell + battery combo. You could fire off a missle or a shell over a field of battle, a low yield explosive would disperse these nodes over some area, and would automatically create a mesh network.

Sounds like what the F-Bomb [slashdot.org] project is hoping to become.

Re:Science Fiction... (2)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030055)

we've wanted to do lots of different things including putting routing protocols on tiny embedded devices and air dropping them (missiles/rockets add excessive complexity to design of electronics due to high g-forces). as well as making something like a viral smartphone mesh that propagates as clients connect, but those are significantly more complex and less immediately useful than just helping people to use what they have already. also byzantium is just a collection of tools that we've made play nicely together. the individual bits are all available independently and we only really wrote the control panel and captive portal which are not required for the system to work, just to make it easier. the software we used for mesh routing is already available as a package in openwrt and the other two protocols we are trying to support in the control panel still are either part of the linux kernel or also available in package form from many distros. point being you can put the routing protocol on everything and have the services run on the "beefier" devices.

Link layer - HAM packet data? (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41026249)

Obviously 802.11 doesn't scale in most non-urban environments (i.e. mountains or trees).

I've seen some references to some HAM's driving packet data up to 220Kbps in the early 90's. Anybody here familiar with how that worked? Most COTS HAM packet data seems to be stuck at 9600bps.

And, yes, I'm assuming the FCC has all been turned into zombies at that point.

Re:Link layer - HAM packet data? (2)

Aethelred Unread (2567841) | about 2 years ago | (#41029745)

Actually, it does scale quite nicely. A 16dBi Omnidirectional antenna high up on a hill can cover a large area with usable wifi and careful positioning of cheap consumer equipment can get you impressive results. I networked a large property and a good portion of the adjacent bay and islands using this guide: Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network: http://owni.fr/files/2011/09/Building_a_Rural_Wireless_Mesh_Network_-_A_DIY_Guide_v0.7_65.pdf [owni.fr]

Using my existing Linux distribution? (1)

cos(0) (455098) | about 2 years ago | (#41026321)

I'd love it if the project's web site had a howto for installing the necessary components on my existing Linux distribution.

Why would I want to boot a LiveCD/LiveUSB if I already have a perfectly working Linux laptop with all my files and settings? Presumably once you're connected to the mesh network you'll want to be productive, whether it involves instant messaging, email, or whatever else you have set up and configured on your laptop.

Re:Using my existing Linux distribution? (2)

Sitwon (2710277) | about 2 years ago | (#41026529)

We have started on this already. https://github.com/Byzantium/Byzantium/wiki/Setting-up-a-mesh-node-without-byzantium [github.com] . We will have a lot more on this in the coming months. We're heading to an International Summit for Community Wireless Networks in early October to collaborate with other mesh projects and communities on some standard for interoperability. Also, the software we're using to build Byzantium will be packaged and submitted to the top Linux distros for inclusion in their repositories, but for now it's easier to develop and test on a closed platform.

Re:Using my existing Linux distribution? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#41027319)

I look forward to seeing it!

One further thought - any thoughts on unleashing this onto Android, iOS & Blackberry?

Re:Using my existing Linux distribution? (1)

Sitwon (2710277) | about 2 years ago | (#41027527)

The great folks at The Serval Project are working on that and we're keeping a close eye on their work.
http://www.servalproject.org/ [servalproject.org]

Re:Using my existing Linux distribution? (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#41028823)

Awesome! Thanks!

Requirements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026413)

This is only useful if you have an active power grid, no? Without commenting on a "DayZ" type zombie world, most natural disaster stricken areas do not have electricity for days/weeks.

Go solar Re:Requirements... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41026673)

This is only useful if you have an active power grid, no? Without commenting on a "DayZ" type zombie world, most natural disaster stricken areas do not have electricity for days/weeks.

A good job for solar panels!

And if the Zombies install Byzantium? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 years ago | (#41026647)

Won't they just be able to find their way easier to good brains? Ones big and smart and nutritious enough to install Byzantium?

Giving away your presence and location can be a good or bad thing in tough times. During the next Zombie Apocalypse, make sure that your closest neighbor node is in range of your McMillan CS5 http://www.mcmillanusa.com/mcmillan-rifles-tactical-cs5.php [mcmillanusa.com] .

Useful when Govt tries to take away network (1)

MauiJerry (2491522) | about 2 years ago | (#41027147)

Forget Zombies. One of the original reasons for this project is to deal with situations like Arab Spring where the local Government tries to cut off (limit, censor or track) network communications to crack down on those who dont like them. How do you get networking back to lots of people, especially those that are not supergeek linux kernel hackers? The project lets people setup primary mesh nodes that become gateways to network, and it also let non-mesh machines become leaf nodes to connect and gain some benefits. This is a terrific setup for improvised use at events - like an Occupy or Burning Man or your next hackathon. Very cool project - unfortunately the live boot cd I got at HOPE9 did not boot on my Macbook Pro. Alas I did not try it until a couple dayz later when I couldnt ask for help quickly. Shoulda tried it out at the con.

Re:Useful when Govt tries to take away network (2)

Sitwon (2710277) | about 2 years ago | (#41028109)

We're still having some trouble supporting MacBooks, particularly because none of the core developers own one. We'd love to help you troubleshoot the issue, as we certainly don't want to exclude Macs from being nodes. Best way to reach us is through our mailing list or in #byzantium on Freenode.

Re:Useful when Govt tries to take away network (1)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030133)

try installing it to usb as well. apart from the mac issues, the CDs have a version with some issues at boot that are mitigated by using the "copy to ram" boot option and/or using a usb instead of the CD. there are instructions in the "USBINSTALL.txt" on the CD.

Neighbors (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 2 years ago | (#41027627)

Who wants to talk to my neighbors. They'll be the ones to bring the Apocalypse.

Re:Neighbors (1)

haxwithaxe (2710323) | about 2 years ago | (#41030269)

they don't have to be the ones immediately adjacent to you :P

Some problems (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41027769)

The main benefit of electronic communications is that it works over long distances. Is it possible to include long-distance wireless links in the system/ Or more generally, can one add other links than WiFi? In a huge catastrophy, maybe some knowledgeable people could wire up some of the ISP's infrastructure with generators or solar panels. The use of Avahi for DNS (in the FAQ) suggests that it wouldn't scale beyond a neighbourhood or two, but maybe one could add advanced router nodes..

Another benefit of electronic technology is collaboration and information storage. Byzantium seems great for that, at least for a local group. Depending on the situation, there may be a need for high security, to restrict access to certain documents/wikis, and authentication, to know who one is talking to. That would be impossible to provide to provide to the ignorant "iPhone users" they keep going on about. Impossible at least for the leaf nodes without the Byzantium software (e.g. ARP spoofing), and very difficult for the router nodes as well.

Anyway, this is a very interesting package, because mesh networks need a high density of nodes, and this makes it easy to set up nodes.

Re:Some problems (2)

Sitwon (2710277) | about 2 years ago | (#41028203)

Is it possible to include long-distance wireless links in the system/ Or more generally, can one add other links than WiFi?

Yes. The routing protocols we have chosen are layer-1/layer-2 agnostic. You can connect to other nodes through any physical link you have available. Dial up, satellite, HAM radio, a VPN tunnel, carrier pigeon, ...

Another benefit of electronic technology is collaboration and information storage. Byzantium seems great for that, at least for a local group. Depending on the situation, there may be a need for high security, to restrict access to certain documents/wikis, and authentication, to know who one is talking to. That would be impossible to provide to provide to the ignorant "iPhone users" they keep going on about. Impossible at least for the leaf nodes without the Byzantium software (e.g. ARP spoofing), and very difficult for the router nodes as well.

We believe that it can be done, that it can be done securely, and that it can be done securely for iPhone users. Obviously there will always be challenges and vulnerabilities in any system this complex, but we can make an effort to address those or at least make it easier for end users to exercise common sense. We're not there yet, but we think this is a step in the right direction.

Re:Some problems (1)

dean.collins (862044) | about 2 years ago | (#41030965)

google "Sydney-Wifi" or "Melbourne-Wifi".......lots of people have been out building these alternate networks for years.

Right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41028375)

The only thing I want to do with my neighbours is hollow out their skulls. I suppose I could blame it on a zombie then.

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