Sunday, January 30, 2011

Get Internet Access When Your Government Shuts It Down

Does your government have an Internet kill-switch? Read our guide to Guerrilla Networking and be prepared for when the lines get cut.

Image source
Patrick Miller and David Daw
PC World

These days, no popular movement goes without an Internet presence of some kind, whether it's organizing on Facebook or spreading the word through Twitter. And as we've seen in Egypt, that means that your Internet connection can be the first to go. Whether you're trying to check in with your family, contact your friends, or simply spread the word, here are a few ways to build some basic network connectivity when you can't rely on your cellular or landline Internet connections.


Do-It-Yourself Internet With Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi
Even if you've managed to find an Internet connection for yourself, it won't be that helpful in reaching out to your fellow locals if they can't get online to find you. If you're trying to coordinate a group of people in your area and can't rely on an Internet connection, cell phones, or SMS, your best bet could be a wireless mesh network of sorts--essentially, a distributed network of wireless networking devices that can all find each other and communicate with each other. Even if none of those devices have a working Internet connection, they can still find each other, which, if your network covers the city you're in, might be all you need. At the moment, wireless mesh networking isn't really anywhere close to market-ready, though we have seen an implementation of the 802.11s draft standard, which extends the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard to include wireless mesh networking, in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO laptop.

However, a prepared guerrilla networker with a handful of PCs could make good use of Daihinia ($25, 30-day free trial), an app that piggybacks on your Wi-Fi adapter driver to turn your normal ad-hoc Wi-Fi network into a multihop ad-hoc network (disclaimer: we haven't tried this ourselves yet), meaning that instead of requiring each device on the network to be within range of the original access point, you simply need to be within range of a device on the network that has Daihinia installed, effectively allowing you to add a wireless mesh layer to your ad-hoc network.

Advanced freedom fighters can set up a portal Web page on their network that explains the way the setup works, with Daihinia instructions and a local download link so they can spread the network even further. Lastly, just add a Bonjour-compatible chat client like Pidgin or iChat, and you'll be able to talk to your neighbors across the city without needing an Internet connection.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

www.ptawug.co.za is an example of such a network,

Anonymous said...

Never tried this one, but it seems to work also. http://www.open-mesh.com/

Anonymous said...

P.S. Keep your old Dial-Up modem handy, and if they kill the internet, dial up an ISP in another country

MajikFireHornet said...

I am not excessively worried about the gubmint killing the net. It is precisely when Mubarak shut down the net in Egypt that the middle class jumped away from their home PCs and hit the streets. Now that it's on again, the crowds are shrinking and it looks like the thug will be in power awhile yet. I fact, the one thing that would get me out into the street, interacting with my neighbors, then heading for DC, would be a net shutdown; have gun, will travel.

Anonymous said...

They are already listening to everything on the net, why would they give up their flow of information? More wireless spectrum would help:
http://main-fm.org/2011/02/03/could-it-happen-here-2/

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Let's start setting up local Meraki mesh wifi networks. http://meraki.com/

Anonymous said...

Good idea to get a ham radio too just in case .

Brian Smith said...

Hello. The rapid advancements of low-cost small-size devices for wireless communications with their international standards and broadband backbone networks using optical fibers accelerate the deployment of wireless networks around the world.
The wireless mesh network has emerged as the generalization of the conventional wireless network. However, wireless mesh network has several problems to be solved before being deployed as the fundamental network infrastructure for daily use. Yesterday I found one great Open Access book on this theme: “ Wireless Mesh Networks”. Book is free to download, or you just can read it on online reading platform here, in the same location: http://www.intechopen.com/books/show/title/wireless-mesh-networks The book is edited to specify some problems that come from the disadvantages in wireless mesh network and give their solutions with challenges. It is a collective work of excellent contributions by experts in wireless mesh network. Cheers!

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