Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Meshnet Activists Rebuilding the Internet From Scratch

New Scientist (08/08/13) Hal Hodson

Activists across the United States are constructing meshnets--decentralized, user-owned wireless networks that enable secure communication without surveillance--partly in response to the Internet's lack of privacy and neutrality.  The Seattle Meshnet project, for example, is comprised of nodes, with each node made up of a radio transceiver and a computer to transmit messages from other parts of the network.  In the event data cannot be channeled through one route, the meshnet finds another.  U.S. meshnet projects are underpinned by Hyperboria, a virtual, peer-to-peer meshnet that runs through the existing Internet.  Once physical meshnet nodes are established, existing Hyperboria links can be routed through them.  Hyperboria's peer-to-peer connections facilitate full encryption of every link in the chain of communication.  The Seattle Meshnet recently completed a crowdfunding effort for meshbox routers that come preloaded with the cjdns software that is required to join the Hyperboria meshnet, and which keeps all communications encrypted.  Meanwhile, a much larger meshnet in Catalonia, Spain, consists of more than 21,000 wireless nodes, enabling user communications as well as support of Web servers, videoconferencing, and online radio broadcasts that would remain operational if the rest of the country's Internet was blacked out.

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