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Communications Wireless Networking Hardware

Wireless Networks That Build Themselves 56

ScienceDaily has an interesting article that looks at ad-hoc wireless networks and how they might be even more useful on a large scale. The RUNES project is featured as an example of software projects that might be able to make mobile devices that form self-organizing wireless networks to help promote this goal. "RUNES set out to create middleware: software that bridges the gap between the operating systems used by the mobile sensor nodes, and high-level applications that make use of data from the sensors. RUNES middleware is modular and flexible, allowing programmers to create applications without having to know much about the detailed working of the network devices supplying the data. This also makes it easy to incorporate new kinds of mobile device, and to re-use applications."
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Wireless Networks That Build Themselves

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  • I'll bet.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) * on Friday March 14, 2008 @04:33PM (#22754610) Homepage Journal

    ...that malware writers will LOVE this. Free propagation, just add mesh!

  • Re:Responsibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iknownuttin ( 1099999 ) on Friday March 14, 2008 @04:38PM (#22754676)
    What happens if your mobile device forms a node over which someone else gets child porn?

    FTFA:Applications include emergency management, security, helping vulnerable people to live independently, traffic control, warehouse management, and environmental monitoring.

    I really don't see this protocol, at first anyway, being used for consumer devices. I'm sure someone will find an application for it, but I don't see the need in the near term. And, I would assume, there would have to be some sort of identifier of the sender and ultimate receiver like TCP/IP has in its protocol.

  • Re:Responsibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Friday March 14, 2008 @04:48PM (#22754748) Journal
    Encryption still works the same over this sort of network...Doesn't matter if someone in the middle reads your public key, the communication is still encrypted.

    Still, I was thinking encryption would be necessary for basic privacy...Something like Tor, where you don't know who is requesting what data. Otherwise it'd be too easy to figure out who was downloading what porn in your neighborhood.

  • Re:Responsibility (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sltd ( 1182933 ) on Friday March 14, 2008 @04:51PM (#22754778)
    I don't know that it would completely kill ISP's. There are some people who live in really remote places, or at least too far for this kind of a network to be worthwhile. Some areas still don't even get broadband access, because there aren't enough computers for it to be viable. Would the people in these areas just be cut off?
  • Re:Recipe for Cash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Friday March 14, 2008 @04:56PM (#22754822) Journal
    Just because someone routes traffic through your node, doesn't mean you can read it. A man in the middle attack across encryption requires that people accept unsecured certificates, which happens often enough, but it's not a slam dunk by any stretch. Theoretically they could try to screw with the PKI, but that would involve breaking their keys, and if you could do that, then stealing someone's bank info would be trivial.

    The great thing about public key crypto is that the key that is visible is meant to be.
  • Whats in a name... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Darth Eggbert ( 175584 ) on Friday March 14, 2008 @05:10PM (#22754936) Homepage
    I came up with a concept one night for a Fractaly Organized Nearby Transient Area Interface NEtwork (FONTAINE) in which each device had 3 Transceivers which would connect to a different device on the network, which in turn connected to 3 other devices etc. it would be infinitely scaleable and each device would carry a map of all the connections in the network. Once logged into the network your device would constantly search out the strongest signals and update transceivers one at a time. If one node gets overloaded it would send a signal to the other nodes to shift paths. Internet access would require stable nodes that have a high bandwidth or even more than 3 transceivers. If each device contains basically its own 3 port router you can expand networks in say a convention center with out running into a capacity problem. This would also work well for a mobile communication device in a densely populated city.

    Feel free to use the concept, but please keep the name.

    The Eggman
  • Not so simple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stevedcc ( 1000313 ) * on Friday March 14, 2008 @05:10PM (#22754940)

    The article talks about everything from motes to handhelds, all on the same network. I work for a company that has a low-bandwidth low-power sensor node product, selling software to hardware makers, and hardware for prototyping purposes. The requirements vary so much from sensor-only devices to handhelds, that any product catering for both would be inherently compromised. Does your handheld want to work with a network that has a total bandwidth like modems from 20 years ago, shared between all the nodes? Is it really concerned with keep power emissions so low that it can stay on that network for 10 years, powered by batteries? how about a sensor attached to your radiator?

    Techies tend to think about what CAN be done with a certain technology, but sometimes we try and generalise too far

  • Zigbee (Score:3, Interesting)

    by us7892 ( 655683 ) on Friday March 14, 2008 @05:22PM (#22755016) Homepage
    Sounds like open standard *Zigbee* [] networks. Been hearing about Ember [] chipsets and self-healing, self-discovery wireless mesh networks for a few years now. Pretty quiet as of late.
  • Re:Responsibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday March 14, 2008 @06:55PM (#22755670)

    What happens when they start getting included in major routing tables and when a backbone goes down, a lot of data's going to start moving through people's devices.. just think of slashdot, no secure login..

    What's your point? The regular backbone is operated by the telecom industry, which has demonstrated willingness to open it up to the government even when that is in direct violation of existing law. Your unencrypted content isn't safe no matter who owns the network it travels over (unless you control both endpoints and all the systems in between.)

    Its not that you should feel like your private data is secure traveling over a network whose backbone is made up of random mobile devices, just that you shouldn't feel that it is safe on a network whose backbone is controlled by AT&T, Qwest, Verizon, etc., either.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!