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[#] Tue Feb 22 2022 09:12:54 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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Follow up to the previous post:

It looks like there are a bunch of free alternatives to Tailscale: headscale, nebula, zerotier, netmaker, to name a few.

[#] Tue Feb 22 2022 11:33:47 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Distributed Private Networks. 

Hardware based solutions where you go out, encrypted, to other devices, and then on to your destination. Kind of a hardware TOR solution, I guess. 

It is kind of a variation of my idea where we could bypass the ISPs and the authoritative segments of the Internet completely because of the ubiquitous nature of WiFi in dense urban and suburban areas. You would need a router that would act as a node, and all your neighbors would have the same router/nodes - and it would just get passed on from router to router to its destination. Big hops would require jumping onto their infrastructure still, I suppose - but you would basically share your bandwidth with everyone. 

I feel like the infrastructure to blow 5G out of the water is probably already installed in almost every house on every block - we just have to get the packet handling built into that hardware. 

 



[#] Tue Feb 22 2022 17:48:24 EST from Nurb432

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For wifi they call that mesh..

 

But ultimately somewhere , someone has to get on the backbone..



[#] Tue Feb 22 2022 18:14:49 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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It basically is a mesh. The design behind most of them involves a centralized control plane at a well-known address, with the actual data paths being peer to peer. The control plane is used for nodes to locate each other and share their public keys, so even if they are moving around or behind third party firewalls, they can still connect to the mesh.

Yes, the control plane is a potential choke point. The current designs are not built to resist authority; that's what a darknet is for. They're intended to replace traditional VPNs by building a full mesh to every single node, so you don't have to route everything through central hubs. I'm sure if someone wanted to build a cancel-resistant DPN they could put the control plane onto a blockchain, or perhaps you have to know the address of at least one node through which you can learn the rest, like a BitTorrent service.

PD's idea of a public wifi mesh network is already reality: [ https://www.nycmesh.net/ ] and probably others. It's basically a bunch of volunteers coordinating a WireGuard overlay over rooftop WiFi routers. There are probably efforts in other locations too. The technology to run it is well understood but it does take some effort to build and maintain.

[#] Tue Feb 22 2022 18:33:11 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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In other news, my home router has been upgraded to RouterOS 7.1.3, and I've already got three WireGuard tunnels up and running. It's REALLY easy. You just put in your private key, the other end's public key, the address/port if they're static, and the allowed addresses. BOOM it's up and running the moment you click Apply.

Now my Pi doesn't have to be used for WireGuard anymore. It's just being used as an I2P router, and to test ARM builds of Citadel.

[#] Tue Feb 22 2022 18:50:02 EST from Nurb432

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If my area was such inclined, i would setup a spare router to join in a mesh. ( or a spare machine, if my router couldn't do it )

 



[#] Thu Feb 24 2022 02:27:15 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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My idea is already implemented on some small scale in isolated urban areas... but when I moved to Arizona, I realized you could hop from one side of the city to the other without EVERY touching an ISP if there were commercial solutions built into home routers that would allow them to safely share bandwidth with other nearby routers. A one-button, opt-in solution. It would give you VPN like protections *and* avoid congestion *and* bypass ISP usage caps. 

And once you got to edge areas, you could logically bind lots of those routers to make an alternate backbone that would then tunnel through the ISP hops to nodes on the other side, in the next metro area - without consuming one participant's bandwidth. 

You could really make it so that the part where you hopped on the ISP for a big hop - they wouldn't really be able to stop it. Almost like torrents work. 

It seems like it would be more fault tolerant and easier to avoid censorship than the current TCP/IP implementation, too, as well as more ecologically sound in that it could really optimize latent segments... kind of on the order of how SETI @HOME works. 


Nodes with lots of extra unused cycles could advertise with priority. Getting people to opt in to such a "collectivist" solution would be the hard part. 





[#] Sat Feb 26 2022 12:21:58 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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I've occasionally walked through New York City and observed that Starbucks could do their own mesh network. There are so many of those shops that each one is easily within reach of two or three others. Too bad the name "Starlink" is already used :)

What's your time worth, though? Unless you're an enthusiast, it's easier to just subscribe to a consumer grade Internet service and someone else maintains it for you. Most people don;'t want to be radio operators or network operators.

[#] Sun Feb 27 2022 18:48:53 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Can't disagree with you there - but - the truth is, everything is zero-config plug-n-play these days. You could just opt in, it would generate a security and encryption key, and find the nearest nodes and join. 

I mean, SETI @Home - you just install a program, right? Make it that simple. 

I'm sure the ISPs are terrified of someone coming up with something like this and it being stable and useful. 

 

Sat Feb 26 2022 12:21:58 EST from IGnatius T Foobar
I've occasionally walked through New York City and observed that Starbucks could do their own mesh network. There are so many of those shops that each one is easily within reach of two or three others. Too bad the name "Starlink" is already used :)

What's your time worth, though? Unless you're an enthusiast, it's easier to just subscribe to a consumer grade Internet service and someone else maintains it for you. Most people don;'t want to be radio operators or network operators.

 



[#] Sun Feb 27 2022 18:54:31 EST from Nurb432

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Would be neat if home routers came that way by default.   I wont hold my breath, but it would be neat.



[#] Sun Feb 27 2022 22:21:21 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Yup. That is what I mean. Something like... um.. the WPS button - but for node connecting. You could have more robust connections for those capable of implementing granular security - but something by default that would get all the morons on-board. 

Hell... you know what would be cool - if cell phones had an app built into where they could be the hop between dense urban wifi areas... so, once you got to the edge of the urban mesh, it would start hopping across cars to the next urban area. Latency would be high - because if a car didn't have a hop point... it would buffer the packets it was carrying until it got to somewhere dense. I bet you could transfer packets quickly from L.A. all the way up to Sacramento hopping along I-5 using this method. 

 

Sun Feb 27 2022 18:54:31 EST from Nurb432

Would be neat if home routers came that way by default.   I wont hold my breath, but it would be neat.



 



[#] Mon Feb 28 2022 07:10:16 EST from Nurb432

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The big ISPs would be sure to stamp it down tho.  And i suspect the government too.



[#] Mon Feb 28 2022 11:08:19 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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Would be neat if home routers came that way by default.   I wont
hold my breath, but it would be neat.

People would reject it unless it came with "free Internet".

The cable company here offers a municipal wi-fi service, mainly composed of access points along their cable paths. Thousands of them. If you're a customer, they throw that in at no extra charge; there's also a paid plan available for non cable subscribers.

Some number of years ago there was a big outrage among their customers, when it was discovered that anyone using the provider-supplied router automatically became another access point for the municipal wi-fi network. Subscribers simply refused to tolerate it. They did not want anyone using "their" Internet connection, that they paid for, that they refused to share.

Sharing and pooling Internet with all of your neighbors over a wi-fi mesh sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice it would fail for the same reason socialism fails: human nature. People are selfish. A working model might have some of the following requirements:

1. A way to pay or be paid for off-mesh Internet access. This might work something like the power grid, where producers and consumers are tied into a common fabric. Providers of off-mesh access can sell it to consumers.

2. Third party networks who want to offer access "for free" can simply peer with the mesh network, bypassing the paid providers.

3. Don't even think about running IPv4 on this. Everything needs to be end-to-end addressable, so it's all IPv6. Providers of off-mesh access can operate NAT64/DNS64 gateways to reach the IPv4 Internet. (If you think this won't work, consider that your smartphone is probably already doing it today.)

4. And of course, as mentioned above, the easy button. It has to work "out of the box". This would take the form of a router with a municipal wi-fi antenna that can be placed in a good location, which for a "consumer only" node would be the only router in the system. For a "consumer+provider" node, it would also uplink to their cable modem, fiber terminal, etc.

[#] Mon Feb 28 2022 13:53:05 EST from Nurb432

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Not 100% sure about that in this day and age, that it would be outright rejected. It could be "sold" correctly with good marketing. "you can use it when your internet goes down" Apple is doing it now, with their stupid tracking pods. I remember Comcast doing something similar, where if you had a WiFi router of theirs, they also let other customers attach to it, but separated from 'your' network.  I dont think anyone even noticed  "oh, whatever ok" ( they may still i donno )

Its enabled by default out of box, but you have to manually allow it to have internet. Few people would bother to go in and turn it off, even if they understood it. Call it a 'yet another guest network"

Mon Feb 28 2022 11:08:19 AM EST from IGnatius T Foobar
Would be neat if home routers came that way by default.   I wont
hold my breath, but it would be neat.

People would reject it unless it came with "free Internet".




[#] Mon Feb 28 2022 16:51:46 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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I agree... you just have to sell them on it... you have to spin it so that they *want* to be on - maybe by incentivizing it. Much the same way that people give up all their personal data and agree to all kinds of tracking for access to free content on YouTube, Facebook, and other sites - you've got to make something so attractive about opting in that people would sign up. 

The problem would be that the incumbents have deep purses and lots of influence with the media - so any product like this would get hammered with public interest tech articles spreading FUD about it - and you wouldn't have the finances to combat it if you were deploying something like this for actually altruistic goals - right? I mean... the real reason this would be awesome is because it would defeat the stranglehold of big media on the Internet. 

So of course, big media would circle their wagons around making sure it failed. 

 

Mon Feb 28 2022 13:53:05 EST from Nurb432

Not 100% sure about that in this day and age, that it would be outright rejected. It could be "sold" correctly with good marketing. "you can use it when your internet goes down" Apple is doing it now, with their stupid tracking pods. I remember Comcast doing something similar, where if you had a WiFi router of theirs, they also let other customers attach to it, but separated from 'your' network.  I dont think anyone even noticed  "oh, whatever ok" ( they may still i donno )

Its enabled by default out of box, but you have to manually allow it to have internet. Few people would bother to go in and turn it off, even if they understood it. Call it a 'yet another guest network"

Mon Feb 28 2022 11:08:19 AM EST from IGnatius T Foobar
Would be neat if home routers came that way by default.   I wont
hold my breath, but it would be neat.

People would reject it unless it came with "free Internet".




 



[#] Tue Mar 01 2022 12:43:12 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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Circumventing "big media" is orthogonal to this ... this is about establishing a dumb pipe, regardless of whether you use it to access legacy media or new media once you're online. As influential as Big Media is today, they still don't control the network. IP is end-to-end; IPv6 even more so. We must be thankful that the Internet is built on IP and not something like SNA or X.25 or the OSI stack, where top-down governance is baked into the lower protocol layers.

It would be nice to be able to find an "Internet cooperative" in your area, sign up and join with a simple device and sign-up procedure. For this to work, though, it has to bring *substantially* more value than the Internet access that comes with your typical $99 triple-play package from the phone or cable company. And it has to be at least equally as reliable and low maintenance.

As an anti-establishmentarian it pains me to say this, but it's easy to underestimate what a tremendous value your typical consumer grade Internet service represents. I clearly recall being a dialup BBS operator in the early 1990's and lamenting that I could not afford the $300/month (plus the circuit costs) for a 56 Kbps Internet connection, let alone the $1000/month (again, plus circuit costs) for a T1. Today I have a *fiber optic* connection into my house that brings the equivalent of 653 T1 circuits, or 21 T3 circuits, for substantially *under* $100/month. In terms of megabits per dollar, that's hard to beat!

[#] Tue Mar 01 2022 17:21:24 EST from Nurb432

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Ya it is amazing how far we have come.. in such a short time.

Tho i ( mentioned it before i'm sure ) saw cable broadband coming.  In one plant i worked at we did it in-house, ran IP across the same lines we ran the in-plant TV system.  Sure, it wasn't yet 'commercial ready' but i saw the potential as that was the early heyday of cable TV. Even discussed with our local ( rural ) cable company, but they were not interested.  "internet, what is that?"



[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 01:30:54 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Absolutely agree that the value proposition of what commercial services offer is extraordinary... but it is the kind of shit you have to do - like - the service we tunnel through to host our Cits on... that irks me. Of course, regular consumers do not care nor do they understand... and I get why the big ISPs have these restrictions - with the kind of bandwidth they offer commercially - if your up matched your down and they weren't using DHCP - people would certainly take advantage of that for business enterprises. 

The value add that I see would be "no downtime, ever... no monitoring, ever... no limitations, ever... and free... the hardware would put you on a node-hopping IP network that... once you got past the initial hardware cost - would just "be there"." 

Phoenix may be somewhat unique - but the entire valley... as I drive around... it is just saturated with WiFi APs - *everywhere*. Everyone has security activated now - nobody has open APs... but if they were all open - you wouldn't need a single ISP to get anywhere in the valley. It is a continuous mesh in all directions. It actually caused me a lot of problems in my cul-de-sac because the channels are all so saturated - and we always have neighbors devices showing up as options... like, "Do you want to stream to Samsung85" TV" or "do you want to use "BluetoothSpeakerX2909"... Firesticks, Alexa devices... cars... 



[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 17:17:19 EST from Nurb432

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Around here it varies.  out in the suburbs there is a lot of signal, but it depends on what side of town. Some areas have large enough yard, you get noting. Others are sardine cans and you get plenty.. You also have lot of stores that broadcast. But, In town, out on the sidewalks not a lot. Buildings block it i guess :)  Further out into rural areas, forget it.  And of course once you hit country, there is nothing. Even if you see a house,  you are way to far away.

 

But i do think at least in 'average' suburbs like where i current live, mesh could work.  We are close enough together that you do get the houses immediately around you or as you walk down the street ( but not much more ). Now, get to the park, i doubt you would get any signal.  Ill have to try tomorow when i walk the dogs. 



[#] Wed Mar 02 2022 19:19:10 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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The West Coast is dense. Typically much smaller sized lots out here. You probably call them plats. Anyhow - my whole lot in Arizona is only just under 3000 sq. ft. bigger than my house in Ohio was (and the value is twice as much). 

Where we're dense - anyhow. The difference is, there can be a couple hundred miles of absolute NOTHING in all directions between two major urban areas... Like... empty... BLM *nothing* in all directions. 


Wed Mar 02 2022 17:17:19 EST from Nurb432

Around here it varies.  out in the suburbs there is a lot of signal, but it depends on what side of town. Some areas have large enough yard, you get noting. Others are sardine cans and you get plenty.. You also have lot of stores that broadcast. But, In town, out on the sidewalks not a lot. Buildings block it i guess :)  Further out into rural areas, forget it.  And of course once you hit country, there is nothing. Even if you see a house,  you are way to far away.

 

But i do think at least in 'average' suburbs like where i current live, mesh could work.  We are close enough together that you do get the houses immediately around you or as you walk down the street ( but not much more ). Now, get to the park, i doubt you would get any signal.  Ill have to try tomorow when i walk the dogs. 



 



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