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Wireless Networking Portables Hardware Technology

OLPC Mesh Networking Tester Explains How It Works 92

An anonymous reader writes "James Cameron is an engineer working on the OLPC project, specifically testing the wireless network capabilities of the OLPC XO laptop. Cameron lives in a small town called Tooraweenah in a remote region of the Australian outback. There is little noise in the spectrum in the area, so it's perfect for testing the wireless networking capabilities of the XO as it mirrors the kind of rural, spacious environment the XO is intended to be deployed in. Cameron breaks down exactly how the OLPC XO's mesh networking works, including the cheap US$35 solar powered mesh nodes that can be mounted on top of a tree to further the network's reach. Testing in the Australian outback, Cameron discovered that the range of the XO could go up to 1.6km 'quite easily' at 1.5m above ground. 'Assuming a range of 1.6km holds true, (the mathematical formula for area of a circle) Pi R squared tells us one well placed mesh node will cover up to eight square kilometers.' The article also includes numerous pictures of the mesh nodes and testing of the XO."
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OLPC Mesh Networking Tester Explains How It Works

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  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @10:47AM (#22635336) Homepage
    This would be a boon to those of us that are maintaining a community wifi setup. Instead of having to spend a LOT on each node we could easily set up hundreds of these cheap $35.00 repeaters to give users the ability to have wireless throughout the town or city. right now I have dish antennas linking sites and having to buy other gear to get things working for the community Wifi. if I could spend as little as $120.00 per site for a repeater+solar panel+battery and simply get them installed all over the place within range of each other it would be dramatically easier for me. I can put up an unobtrusive box+panel easier than getting permission to put up this box and dish, oh the dish needs to be high up in the air and visible... etc...

    They really need to release the whole shebang to the world so that windows drivers can be written to use that mode, linux and OSX drivers would be great too, plus get people making the repeaters better stronger and cheaper.

    did I miss the links? do they release all the details of this so It can be implemented commercially?
  • by bhima ( 46039 ) * <Bhima,Pandava&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @10:58AM (#22635460) Journal
    I'm been slightly interested in mesh add hock wireless networking for a while now. I'd like to see some combination of wireless access point in Wifi & WiMax with some sort of Bittorrent management / bridging function. If you could put this in a box like what OpenWRT runs on and sell it for less that 100 it would be great. Living in a college town I'm convinced those kids are sharing petabytes of Porn, Pop & House music, and cheesy serial television shows from Hollywood. Having all that sharing pushed off the wired net I pay my ISP for on to a wireless grey market mesh network would free the wired network up... for my *legitimate* traffic of Blues & Classical music, and David Attenborough documentaries... then perhaps I could finish seeding my fair share of "Life in Cold Blood".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @11:24AM (#22635848)
    You speak the truth. I was at a recent community wifi meeting (air-stream.org) and there were 3 or 4 running OLPC's in the room. They absolutely and completely stomped on the wifi. Nobody could use the wifi again until everyone looking at the toys shut them and closed them down.

    It reminds me a lot of the early Gnutella days when it used broadcast routing.

    Bottom line - OLPC network mesh software is pre-alpha.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @11:44AM (#22636060)
    This would be a boon to those of us that are maintaining a community wifi setup.

    To test in the Australian outback sounds like a test under ideal conditions. No RFI. No natural or man-made obstructions. No problems with climate or weather.

    Maintaining "hundreds repeaters" through a Buffalo winter presents a somewhat greater challenge.

  • Horrible design! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Radi-0-head ( 261712 ) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @08:55PM (#22644728)
    The boxes for the mesh radios are BLACK! Totally stupid decision, as they do not reflect sunlight and allow the guts of the box to heat up to levels which will either degrade performance or cause the radios to malfunction completely.

    How do I know this? Let's just say I've learned from personal experience.

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.