Joho the Blog » Clive Thompson on building another Internet

Clive Thompson on building another Internet

Clive Thompson is talking about the quest to build a new Net without its flaws.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Problems: Governments can shut down the Net. Corporations have a lot of control over copyright, causing the corporations that deliver the Net to throttle it. And Mother Nature can shut it down, e.g. Sandy. Is it possible to build another Internet? He’s been talking with people about this, mainly with people building mesh networks.

But can you make a mesh big enough to cover the planet? Not now. But what are the biggest ones now. (1) in Spain started about 10 years ago. 19,509 nodes, 43 web servers, etc. They don’t view themselves as building a new Net but extending the old one. (2) Athens Municipal Wireless covers about 50% of Greece that has internal versions of Google, Yahoo, etc. Way faster than normal Nets. (3) Quintana Libre serves a rural town of fewer than 500 people, speeds up to 20mbps. (4) Red Hook’s mesh provides local services that don’t show up off the mesh.

For mesh to work, the local community has to be really invested in it.

A guy in Australia has tech — Serval — that lets you make mobile-to-mobile calls to your normal phone number but without cell towers.

So, can you build another Net? You can do inter-continental hops: Australia to Slovenia exists. People are talking about buying decommissioned satellites “but you’d need a really big Kickstarter for that.”

So can you build a new one? Yes, and no, and no and maybe. Reliability and scalability? Mesh sw is still way too geeky. Bootstrapping conundrum: people want global connections, not just local.

Q: [me] But mesh currently connects outside of the mesh to the Internet via the existing Internet backbones. Is there any hope for a pure mesh Internet?

A: Not yet.

Q: Suppose we scaled back our expectations and started with mesh just for SMS, for example?

A: Yes, and that’d be great for activists who want to connect.

A: The examples I gave are all different. Quintana just wants access to the big Internet, but in Athens much of what they want is access to their own local stuff.

14 Responses to “Clive Thompson on building another Internet”

  1. David, sorry I didn’t see this before — thanks so much for liveblogging this! I like having a record of talks … more skimmable and findable than video records, at least for now.

    One factual fix: The big cross-border hops I was talking about were not yet “Australia to Slovenia” … it was “Austria to Slovenia”. Going from Australia to Slovenia would be *insanely rad*; but nobody’s there yet, heh.

    (I suspect I might have accidentally said “Australia” during my presentation, because I was remarkably underslept.)

  2. Clive, I was wondering, because you later mentioned the challenge of crossing oceans. But it was undoubtedally my faultal, since I often randomally insert “als”. I’ll visibally fix it in the post itself.

  3. [...] Clive Thompson on building another Internet ( [...]

  4. I’m pretty pleased to uncover this great site. I wanted to
    thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every bit of it and I
    have you book-marked to look at new stuff in your blog.

  5. Very energetic article, I loved that bit. Will there be a
    part 2?

  6. Hi to all, it’s really a good for me to pay a visit this web page, it includes priceless Information.

  7. What’s up colleagues, good article and pleasant arguments commented here, I
    am in fact enjoying by these.

  8. What’s up, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am as
    well delighted to share my experience here with colleagues.

  9. I’ve been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting
    article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content
    as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  10. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment.

    I do believe that yyou need to publih more agout this subject matter, it may not
    be a taboo subject bbut generally people do not talk about such issues.
    To the next! Best wishes!!

  11. I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.

    my webpage; homepage (Leigh)

  12. It’s very trouble-free to find out any topic on net as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing
    at this web page.

    Take a look at my homepage … web site (Jefferey)

  13. There may also be a review if the discharge was dishonorable.
    Lenders are required to be approved by the
    agencies in order to make loans to borrowers who
    qualify. Myth #1 – “I pay cash for everything, so I
    should be able to borrow money since I don’t have any credit

    my blog fha loan limits atlanta georgia weather

  14. It is definitely easy to take care of nearly 660 cats.
    If the swelling is accompanied by severe pain, or if it does not go away after two
    weeks, seek medical attention. However, his past natural appearance cannot be
    seen after this awful facial plastic surgery with odd looking eye brows.

Leave a Reply

Web Joho only

Comments (RSS).  RSS icon