[iDC] Re: lambda lambda lambda

Ryan Griffis ryan.griffis at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 12:17:24 EST 2006

On Feb 21, 2006, at 11:01 AM, idc-request at bbs.thing.net wrote:

> do you (or anyone else) know of
> community based groups using a similar model? the technology is not
> particularly interesting here but what fascinates me is a model of a
> flat hierarchy (ok, not exactly the case with WiFi-NY) in which there 
> is
> no central governing body.

this is a project in my small college town of urbana
some of the folks from this effort responded to the communications 
problems in the Katrina aftermath, related to my concern for 
infrastructure and communications in localized crises.
there's a bit of libertarianism, but much more of a collectivist 
approach that's not oppositional to organized institutions. the 
potential for local intranet development, as well as global internet, 
is something i see as interesting as well.
from their website:
"Imagine a free wireless networking system that any municipality, 
company, or group of neighbors could easily set up themselves. Over the 
past half-decade, the Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network 
(CUWiN) has been developing an open source, turnkey wireless networking 
solution that exceeds the functionality of many proprietary systems. 
CUWiN's vision is ubiquitous, extremely high-speed, low-cost networking 
for every community and constituency. Following in the footsteps of 
Linux and Firefox, CUWiN has focused on creating a low-cost, 
non-proprietary, user-friendly system. CUWiN's software will share 
connectivity across the network, allowing users to buy bandwidth in 
bulk and benefit from the cost savings. CUWiN networks are 
self-configuring and self-healing -- so adding new wireless nodes is 
hassle-free, and the system automatically adapts to the loss of an 
existing node. And, because CUWiN networks are completely ad-hoc, 
there's no need for expensive central servers or specialized 
administration equipment.

To set up a network, all end-users need to do is burn a CD with CUWiN's 
software (which will be available for free at 
http://www.cuwireless.net), put the CD into an old desktop computer 
equipped with a supported wireless card, and turn the computer on. Once 
the computer boots from the CD, the rest of the setup is completely 
automated: from loading the networking operating system and software, 
sending out beacons to nearby nodes, negotiating network connectivity, 
and assimilating into the network -- all the complicated technical 
setup is taken care of automatically. Unlike most broadband systems, 
CUWiN's software builds a local intranet as well as providing for 
Internet-connectivity -- thus, a town that uses CUWiN's system is also 
creating a community-wide local area network over which streaming audio 
and video, voice services, etc. can all be sent.

CUWiN is a cutting edge research and development initiative. CUWiN has 
pioneered the first open source implementation of Hazy Sighted Link 
State routing protocol (first developed by BBN Technologies); thus 
CUWiN's software creates a highly robust, scalable ad-hoc wireless 
networks. CUWiN's route prioritization metric is based on research 
conducted at MIT and will automatically adapt to any network topology 
and local geography.

CUWiN's software is, and always will be, available for free. CUWiN is a 
non-profit organization supported by grants and donations. CUWiN's 
software provides one of the world's most advanced networking solutions 
available today; and we are now making our software available to the 
general public to use, test, and help develop. We know that there are 
features and improvements that people will want to see in future 
releases -- as an open source project, we are counting on the feedback 
and input from people around the globe."

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