Documentation for the sudo mesh firmware.
- 1 Firmware generation features
- 2 Stuff the firmware should have
- 3 Stuff the firmware could have
- 4 Compatible devices
Firmware generation features
It should be easy to generate a new firmware with the following custom config:
- Location and ownership information.
- Contact info should be saved in a secure database but maybe not on the node itself?
- Randomly generated passwords set for wpa2, admin interface and ssh.
- The SSH password should be stored securely and a couple of stickers with the wpa2 and admin password should be printed for the user.
Stuff the firmware should have
Location and status reporting
Something that reports location and status when polled.
The SSH server should be contactable from any interface. It should initially allow root access using a random generated password that the mesh group has and that the node owner can get and change if they are so inclined.
Node tests itself to see if it has connectivity, etc and resets itself if necessary.
We'll use this as the mesh protocol.
Multiple virtual network interfaces with their own SSIDs
- One ad-hock mode, unencrypted interface for the mesh nodes, e.g. sudomesh-backchannel
- One access point mode, unencrypted interface, for non-mesh devices to connect to the mesh, e.g. sudomesh.
- One access point mode, private interface with WPA2, for the people who own the nodes. [optional]
Traffic on the private interface should be completely separated from traffic on the non-private interfaces unless a client connected to the private interface requests an IP on the mesh.
Maybe the last one is optional because some people may not need that feature (they already have another access point and they want to keep it), but then how do people administrate the router?
Web admin interface
A very simple one-page interface. It should do at least the following:
- Set location, name, description.
- But do you want to know the location centrally as well so that you can display nodes on the map? Will people enter this information twice or will you pull this information from nodes and then display on the map? Same for name and description. I would suggest that information is stored only once. In your case on the node itself. So probably you can then pull this information through nodewatcher scripts on nodes and then display nodes the map. Just really should not require people to enter or maintain information on two places because it desyncs very fast. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
- Let people select how much bandwidth they share.
- They always share 100% when they're not using the connection themselves.
- This works if people are using their private SSIDs on the node. But if the node is connected to their existing home network you might not easily configure such sharing. But maybe there is a way to detect that host network is free and can limits can be increased. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
- Do any ISPs have bandwidth caps around here? If so, let people specify how many MB to share per month.
- Let people change the admin password and the private wifi wpa2 password.
- Probably private SSID as well.
- Donate / "buy routers as presents for your friends"-button.
- One idea we had (but this is probably better for splash screen) is "adopt a node". Where a neighbor who uses a node a lot and depends on the node can donate some money to keep it up, but can then give a nickname or avatar to the node. Or something. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
Nice to have:
- Status info: How many nodes is your node connected to. Is the internet link working.
- An "I don't know what my internet bandwidth is, test it for me"-function.
- Usage statistics (so people can see how many people they helped get internet!)
- This is the most important thing! Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
- You should add as well graphs on how much bandwidth was consumed by the node. This is useful when hosts see that their Internet is slow and believe that it was because of the node. Then they can check and see if it is really node (which often is not) or maybe just ISP has problems. Important because people like to attribute issues they have to nodes they don't understand. Mitar (talk) 22:20, 24 July 2013 (PDT)
- Let people put up a bit of info about their node / house / co-op, on a simple web page that people can access only if they're connected to that node. It could be shown as part of the splash page.
QoS / bandwidth shaping
To support letting node owners select how much bandwidth they share.
We should have a captive portal so people can learn about the mesh. We have also thought about letting local groups and businesses advertise with location-specific advertisements on the splash page. This could be a source of revenue for the mesh. This should also act as a list/portal for the local services running on the mesh.
The firmware should tunnel all Internet traffic from the mesh through a VPN server, unless this feature is specifically disabled.
This should not be a single VPN server, as that would be a single point of failure.
If the mesh does not see any other nodes (and maybe even if it does?), and it has internet, then it should connect to another node or two over VPN. The easy solution is to use the same VPN servers as for the internet.
DHCP and batman-adv gateway mode
Nodes with an internet connection should run DHCP and batman-adv gateway mode.
Stuff the firmware could have
Each node could run its own (caching) DNS server. Doing this would allow people to access the admin interface for their node by going to e.g. http://me.mesh/ from the private interface.
Caching web proxy
We could use Polipo to improve people's browsing experience. Not sure how much cpu and memory this would need. We may not be able to run it on the routers with less than 32 MB ram (e.g. the Bullet 2 HPs).
Block ads and tracking
We could use e.g. Polipo with the sources from both adblock plus and ghostery. If we implement this, it should be an optional (default off) feature that you can select on the splash page, with a "remember this" that remembers either using a cookie or using your MAC (but then we'd be tracking people's MAC addresses :-S). The block should probably be time-limited (e.g. 30 days).
We should have ready-made images for:
- One really cheap indoor router (with 3G usb stick support?) like TP-Link TL-WR703N
- One nice high-speed indoor router (300 mbps 802.11n)
- Ubiquiti hardware. Most of the AirMAX stuff.