Mesh/Interviews with other meshers

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Seattle Meshnet Interviews

These are anonymized IRC logs of chats with Seattle Meshnet folks. Alice is Juul (talk).

Interview 1 - April 2013

* Now talking on #seattlemeshnet
* Topic for #seattlemeshnet is: Seattle Meshnet | | We're not always around, so be patient
* Topic for #seattlemeshnet set by at Thu Mar 21 12:01:16 2013
<Alice> Hiya
<Alice> I'm from the 510pen (five-one-open) Oakland mesh group
<Alice> What kind of solution are you thinking about using for longer range directional links?
<Alice> I see that you're using Ubiquity Nanostations
<Bob> hello
* Bob pokes Paul Eve 
<Alice> do you have any idea how far two of those pointed at each other can reach, line of sight?
* anon gives something to other anon
<Bob> I don't
<Alice> We're playing around with small satellite dishes right now
<Bob> 15km according to
<Bob> Paul would be the man to talk too
<Alice> ok
<Alice> that sounds almost too good to be true
<Alice> perhaps that's in ideal conditions
<Bob> I'll see if I can get them back here
<Alice> thanks :)
<Bob> Alice, they also have a subreddit
<Carol> Title for - The Seattle Meshnet Project
<Bob> I'm not actually in Seattle myself
<Eve> ok
<Eve> uhh
<Eve> i have no scrollback
<Bob> one sec I will ezcrypt
<Eve> mk
<Eve> oh thought you said Portland meshnet
<Eve> hey juul
<Alice> hey Eve 
<Eve> re: longer range directional links
<Eve> proly nanostations
<Eve> we've got quite a few of them
<Alice> cool
<Alice> how'd you get funding?
<Eve> Several members just owned them beforehand
<Alice> ah
<Alice> so you think two nanostations pointed at each-other will be able to give decent link quality in an urban environment over 1 mile or so?
<Eve> if they're up high enough
<Eve> However, TBH this is more Paul's field of expertise
<Alice> ok
<Alice> we're looking at using small recycled satellite dishes with usb wifi adapters in the point of focus
<Eve> Bob, i presume you texted Dan too?
<Alice> the gain on those thinks are great
<Eve> yeah
<Alice> have you talked to some of the people running big established meshes, like freifunk or the athens mesh?
<Eve> nope
<Eve> at least not me
<Alice> ok
<Bob> Eve, yes
<Eve> When seattle gets more hardware up I proly will
<Eve> but i do more software stuff
<Eve> we did a group buy of MirkoTiks
<Eve> powerful 5GHz omnidirectional things
<Alice> ah
<Alice> have you decided on a mesh routing protocol?
<Alice> ok, I must admit I haven't looked much at CJDNS
<Alice> so, given my limited understanding of CJDNS routing, it seems to me that packets aren't necessarily routed in the most optimal way, given a mesh network?
<Alice> CJDNS routing is based only on the addresses right? and the addresses are not linked to physical position?
<Alice> ah, upon further reading it seems like it _is_ routing based on physical proximity as well
<Alice> guess I'll have to read the code to really understand it
<Eve> shit sorry
<Eve> got distracted
<Eve> yeah
<Eve> check #projectmeshnet, #cjdns for questions specifically about CJDNS
<Eve> i gotta go, dinner
<Eve> cya
<Alice> no problem, thanks :)

Interview 2 - March 31st 2013

* Now talking on #seattlemeshnet
* Topic for #seattlemeshnet is: Seattle Meshnet | | We're not always around, so be patient
* Topic for #seattlemeshnet set by at Thu Mar 21 12:01:16 2013
* anon has quit
* anon has joined
<Paul> Hia Alice!
<Alice> hey Paul :)
* anon gives something to other anon
* anon gives something to other anon
<Paul> how goes it?
<Alice> good good. just applied for some funding for our mesh project
* Alice crosses all the fingers
<Alice> i was told to talk to you yesterday
<Alice> i was wondering what kind of actual range you can get with two ubiquiti nanostations pointed at each other in an urban environment
<Alice> line of sight
<Alice> I've heard that buildings/trees/etc close to the line of sight will still interfere. Honestly I don't know much about how the radio waves propagate and how much clear space is needed along a path.
<Alice> your hardware wiki page says 15 km, but that sounds too good to be true
<Merlin> Alice: Yeah, the range is a bit insane
<Merlin> Although trees and buildings will effect the 2.4 and 5Ghz ranges quite a bit
<Paul> yeah
<Alice> how can the range be so great when it's only a 160 mW device?
<Paul> trees and hills are what prevent the range from being 15km
<Paul> 160mw?
<Paul> are you taking about one of those old Nanostation 2 rdios?
<Paul> *radios
<Alice> the nanostation 5 loco says it's 22 dBm
<Alice> for 24 Mbps and below
<Paul> I know that a Nanostation M5 has a lot more kick than that
<Paul> Yeah, the nanostation 5 loco was new in 2006
<Paul> look at its successor, the Nanostation M5 loco
<Paul> it does 23dbm iirc
<Alice> the M9 does 28 dBm
<Paul> I still have a pair of Nanostation 2 locos in use, but they barely make it 2 blocks with all the RF interference out there today
<Alice> cool
<Paul> yeah
<Alice> have you experimented with parabolic dishes?
<Paul> the M5 & M2 do 27dbm or so
<Paul> yeah, a bit
<Paul> pair a nanostation with an old satellite dish, a metal strainer, or an old wok, and you can go even further
* anon gives something to other anon
<Alice> ah cool
<Alice> thanks :)
<Alice> we were thinking about using usb wifi adapters with woks and maybe a raspberry pi
<Alice> not woks, i mean satellite dishes
<Alice> there are a lot of directv and similar small dishes available for free
<Alice> but getting them high enough might be a problem
<Alice> it's a lot easier to put a nanostation on a tall pole
<Paul> yeah
<Paul> exactly
<Paul> whereabouts are you located btw?
<Alice> Oakland, CA
<Paul> mmm
<Paul> To give you an idea of an Omnitik and a nanostation's coverage, take a look at this
<Arthur>  it looks to me like this project does not use cjdns.  Is that right?
<Carol> Title for - Page not found «  Project Byzantium
<Paul> yep, thats correct
<Arthur> ok, thanks
<Alice> byzantium uses babel
<Paul> haxwithaxe has requested that we add a few features to cjdns before it gets baked in to byzantium
<Paul> And we added those features as of about 2 months ago
<Paul> cjdns is planned for v0.4a
<Arthur> ah, so it may eventually be included in byzantium.  kuhl.
<Paul> yep
<Alice> Paul, cool. what am I looking at?
<Paul> Alice: oh, its a coverage map of one of our nodes
<Paul> it has an omnitik at the center, and is assuming your using a Nanostation M5 to connect in to it
<Alice> ah awesome
<Alice> ah awesome
<Alice> Paul, how high up was the omnitik and nanostation?
<Paul> oh, the omnitik is on a 20ft flagpole from Harbor Freight Tools
<Paul> and the map assumes you can get a Nanostation (or equivalent radio) up 20ft on your end
<Alice> is the map measured or calculated?
<Paul> Calculated, although from testing it seems to be fairly accurate
<Alice> nice! it was calculated using one of the free ligowave tools?
<Paul> yea
<Alice> cool.
<Alice> thanks for all the info
<Alice> I'm looking at the Ubiquiti Airgrid M5
<Alice> it looks pretty awesome
<Paul> yea, although its single polarity
<Alice> isn't that a good thing?
<Paul> not really
<Paul> its half the speed of a Nanostation
<Alice> ah
<Paul> 300mbps vs 150mbps is a pretty big diffrence
<Paul> although in practice its really more like 100mbps versus 60mbps
<Alice> that's better than i expected
<Alice> how did you decide on the omnitik?
<Alice> and is it the UPA-5HnD ?
<Paul> Nah, its the U-5HnD, the only additional feature on the UPA version is POE out, and it doesn't work too well
<Paul> and the fact that we got the U-5HnD's for $30 a pop was also very helpful
<Alice> oh, how'd you manage that?
<Alice> if we get this grant, we'd be looking to buy maybe 100 of them
<Alice> another question: are you putting openwrt on the omnitiks? 
<Paul> Oh, we found a seller who was looking to get ri of them
<Paul> *rid
<Alice> ok
<Alice> would you still recommend them at ~$80 which seems to be their retails price?
<Paul> he still has 60 or 70 of them though, although I wouldn't buy 100 of them or base my network on them exclusively
<Alice> ok
<Paul> and they can't run OpenWRT at this point, although they have more than enough ram, flash, and cpu power to run OpenWRT
<Alice> ok
<Alice> are any of your group hacking on that?
<Paul> yea
<Paul> they also work down to 4.8ghz and up to 6.075ghz according to Eve 
<Paul> so that is moderately interesting
<Eve> that's just what the WebUI said
<Eve> no idea if it actually does it
<Alice> yeah, probably not a good idea to base a mesh on any one type of hardware
<Paul> yea
<Paul> get a mix of Freestations, Nanosations, Omnitiks, and whatever else is cheap and robust, at least that is what we've been doing