After the BangPypers meetup on Saturday, we went to the FSMK office on Sunday 22nd May, to have a discussion on Mesh Networks. We were hoping that this meet would spark some interesting ideas, leading to a Meshnet initiative in Bangalore. “We” being myself, Ganesh, Selvakumar, Ramaseshan and Raj Anand. We met Arun Issac, Kaushik and Vignesh at the office. To be honest, I was a tad disappointed as I was expecting more people to show up, nonetheless we had a healthy discussion. In their defense, the announcement of the meet was pretty late.
I explained what was currently going on at pymesh, the challenges we were facing, the problems we have solved and how we intended to move forward. We discussed the possibility of starting a similar initiative at Bangalore. Kaushik mentioned that he was experimenting with the Freifunk’s custom firmware for routers, based on openwrt. I adviced him to try the openwrt image directly, as Freifunk, by default restricts the users to configure the router after flashing it, while a plain openwrt image provides the user ssh access and the flexibility to configure pretty much anything in the router. We talked about the kinds of antennas we experimented with. Ganesh explained the specifics of how we had built the Yagi-Uda antenna.
Most part of the discussion focused on social outreach. We explained our approach to reach people through social media, by advertising through posters in the regions covered by our mesh nodes and by conducting events at colleges. Later, we demonstrated how to install and use B.A.T.M.A.N and tried Serval Mesh, a P2P VoIP application.
After lunch we met Raghuram and introduced ourselves to him. We talked about KariGLUG’s Libre Digital Library which serves an offline copy of wikipedia and other resources like ebooks licensed under CC and how we could start a network by first putting up a few nodes which serve some valuable resources and then build on it gradually. We parted ways after a short while, hoping to meet again soon and accomplish more.