The CUWiN [Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network ] project wants to allow self-forming, noncentralized, mesh-based Wi-Fi networks using standard, old PCs with no configuration. Slightly more advanced units could be ruggedized boxes using Compact Flash, but the basic unit would be a 486 or later PC with a bootable CD-ROM or bootable floppy that bootstraps a CD-ROM. Once booted, a unit finds other similar units without any other configuration or control and forms a mesh.
Clay comments over at Corante Many2Many:
As with straight Wifi, the obvious uses of a simple meshing tool are to replace wireline networks where they would be too expensive, but the second-order benefits that will come out will all be novel and often social uses for temporary creation of self-configuring high-bandwidth LANs — internet cafes without the cafe, temporary autonomous file trading zones, video re-mix culture throwdowns in real time.
The old paradigm of top-down network provisioning is so fragile that just one garage-based genius – surrounded by an open source community – could implode it. Exciting.
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