Meeting logs

*30-03-22 | Kick-off session

***Recordings & notes

(mp4) https://connect.apc.org/presentation/8be32d6f6bb71629621f85730061d30307742388-1648640587701/meeting.mp4
(presentation) Playback

Eric, sorry the meeting link was hard to find, but glad you made it! And thanks also for the link you sent me to a very interesting new mesh router - the Maxwell. I wonder how it compares to the LibreRouter.

I asked the developers what mesh networking protocols were used in the device and the reply was: “Maxwell uses 802.11s links between nodes (and/or Ethernet if hard wired), and the batman mesh software (version 4).”

Community of Practice 2: Active Infrastructure Meeting Notes

Notes taking CoP 2 kick-off meeting (March 30th 2022)

Slides: CoP 2 - HackMD

Present:
Cyn, Igor, Mike, Bruna, Nico, Nils (all LocNet)
Eric (Wakoma), Pablo Bustos (Altermundi), German Ferrero (Altermundi), Dinesh (Servelots), Sanketh (Janastu), Shalini (Janastu), Micah (Janastu)

Nico: Thanks for joining today. This is the 2nd CoP, the first one was about passive, this one is about active infrastructure. Now let’s take a look at the agenda:

Agenda

  • Housekeeping (2 min)
  • Where we are now? (5 min)
  • Today’s step (60 min)
  • Next steps (13 min)

Housekeeping

Nico: not all are native speakers, use your time and express the way you want, we can resume and facilitate translation
…also trying to fix issues with access to the BBB, anouncing also the recording of the session…you can also invite more folks still…make this an open space (as open as it can be)

Where we are now?

Recap of CoP

Nico: A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do.
They collaborate in dynamics of immersive learning, sharing knowledge and learning by doing, based on the needs of the community and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly."
The methodologies for these learning exchanges and forms of interaction must be defined collectively and not hierarchically, having as a concern the inclusion of gender, race/ethnicity, diverse habilities and different levels of knowledge, validating empirical knowledge and promoting an environment free of prejudice.
In the past it was quite ad-hoc and not collaborative approach, growing communities of practitioneers and grant makers, particular networks, oportunities for fundings… in the spirit of it we came up with this 5 potential CoPs.
We (as in LOCNET) are very much learning by doing and can refine the strategy as we go forward and are very interest in hearing your feedback on Active Infrastructure.

Cop 2 - Active infrastructure

It’s a framing for collaborating on addressing needs for the electronic equipment - routers, 2/4G Base Stations, fiber and user devices.
This CoP will complement the CoP on ‘Passive Infrastructure’ which focuses on masts, lightning protection, solar energy, etc.
It is an OPEN Space for collaborations (so we can invite others to join!).

Today’s step

Introductions

Nico Pace, LocNet team:
- Which is your main topic of interest: MeshRouters, a long suporter of LR and libre mesh, providing training and feedback, an advocate of the cause
- Suggestions and expectations for collaboration: the libre mesh software should incude more realities as the time passes, the use cases for the the CNs in Latin America are well covered, but eager to know others

Sankath:
Which is your main topic of interest: not so sure what active infrastructure is but working with mesh routers in India, playing around with different antenas, tinkering with LR and TPLink routers and others, exloring

Eric, Wakoma:
Which is your main topic of interest: CN in a box, I try to avoid the phrase but I want to make it easy to build infra with available infra, portability of infra and that is opensource, open 3d designs, produce local infra, distribute manufacturing, re.direct production needs to not depend on suply chains

Igor, APC Tech Team:
Which is your main topic of interest: help with any tech issue, very intereseted in mesh networks, in Brazil some interseting projects there
Suggestions and expectations for collaboration: nothing specific, but happy to learn

Mike Jensen, APC/LocNet/Wp4:
Which is your main topic of interest
how to advice new networks around ideal active equipment for networks, many choices and difficult decisions, give guidelines and suggestions…move towards open source

cynthia el khoury APC/LocNet
Which is your main topic of interest
here to hear more, not that active but interested in renewable energy for CNs

Pablo Bustos, Altermundi, deployments of CNs
Which is your main topic of interest
manufacturing some LR parts in Argentina and energy/power supply, here to learn and know people better

Bruna Zanolli, LocNet/WP4
Which is your main topic of interest
grassroots level, also supporting a CN using libre mesh with standard routers, wnating to migrate to LR (thanks Altermundi)…think of how to get equipment easier to people, also solar energy equipments, not only because is good for the environment but also because we need power supply for antenas without grid power suply nearby

German Ferrero, Altermundi (Cordoba), libremesh development
Which is your main topic of interest
know how to use libremesh, wich concerns do we have, know where the software should be heading

Shalini, Janastu, CN management with Janastu
Which is your main topic of interest
wants to know how power management for network set-ups can be designed, learn more about decentralized networks

Dinesh, Servelots
get more inclusive with Internet service…incl. marginalized by literacy
Which is your main topic of interest
LibreMesh and management tools, to actually make this a mesh operated space, and make things more inclusive

Micah - Janastu
Which is your main topic of interest?

Nico: the way of how to move forward will become more clear while moving forward together. local manufacturing seems a shared interest. Bruna mentioned the cost of duty taxes as a barrier in Brazil for LR adaption and Pablos tech development and experience with antenas could support “duty free” CNs…taxes sometimes make for more then the cost of the equipment itself

…there is a feature on BBB to disable webcams and screenshare, in case you have trouble with bandwidth. now reading out loud Eric:

Eric: would love to learn how to 1. move from ubiquiti/mikrotik/cambium/etc. to libremesh…in networks where proprietary hw is already used, and 2. use libremesh from scratch/in new networks

Eric: how easy os to use proprietary equipment (put things on the cloud), how we migrate, have to scratch all structure? how do we make the case for new networks to start from the very beggining using FLOSS. how to move off from it?

Dinesh: we have 5,6 routers but no libremesh, random routers softwares…

Nico: captive portal not there yet, how to have it…in order for you to put a captive portal you need to be using libremesh, iot doesn’t allow you to use the network how you use it… it doens’t play nice w network engineers… some part it would be great if we can learn together
bruna:

Sanketh: we have 2 or 3 different routers type, to have p2p link or long distances, we use proprietary software to that, openwrt only to acess points (???), tplinks indoors acess points… it would be ideal to see how this different routers can be used to build the network… ubiquity is limited, train community to use this, use that… I’m interest on discussing about having a common router (LR) and change antennas for different uses

Sanketh:
Long range - proprietary hardware
comunity network - libremesh/librerouter
indoor router - off the shelf router

Ger Ferrero: Cómo conectar un Router Interno? - HowTo - LibreRouter

Eric: Ubiquiti networks sometimes have APs/Switches/etc. in UniFi Controller platform, and rockets/litebeams/nanobeams/etc. in UISP platform (formerly UNMS)…I wonder how one could switch to libremesh with one of the 2 platfomrs and have more of a hybrid model.

Sankhet: how to build a network by yourself? How could they go and build them by themselves? bandwidth limited, whatever acess routers we have start flashing them with OprnWRT …, looking options of different options and antennas, building you own services is challenging…

nicopace:That is a great start-point Eric…

  • Ubiquiti network structure
  • LibreMesh network structure
    *** similarities and differences

Eric: shared active infrastructure sheet/database w/ compatibility, know deployments, regional availability/pricing. Could even do a classifieds/trade forum. I have a bunch of HW around here unused that could be repurposed.
→ classifieds forum a la https://www.reddit.com/r/homelabsales

Eric: how to repourpose reuse the network infra you already have creating a data base not only about the hw that are already there but also how to repourpose using 3D printer…

Mike: throw ideas of priority topics, want to have feedback about hability to move from proprietary to FLOSS, it seems to me that proprietary have the market for distance links, netwroks management software that comes w the equipment, ubiquity, mikrotic… interconection about long distance and local network…

German: I remember San and Nico Echaniz talking about we could support long distance links w LR, but didn’t go far, but that was the discussion that it could be possible… just so you know we have been talking about that sometime.

Nico: challenge in relation to network support, OpenWRT devices that are high speed and long range, are absent or non existent, LR was used time ago for some experiments, 50km, it “worked” for 2MBPS, low level driver implementation was missing… it doesn’t exist this in free hardware world… definitly a very important problem, difficult to talk because is closely tight to the sillicon, radio CPU being used, implementation whitin the chip of that protocol… it’s wortly because unlooks a part of the network

Eric: @dinesh some info here GitHub - Wakoma/nimble: The Nimble. An open source, rapidly deployable, wireless mesh network. and here: https://wakoma.co/nimble/. Tinkercad for 3D designs: Wakoma Incorporated | Tinkercad Also on Prusa: Printables

Bruna: two lines: development and sistematizing what already exists into more holistic materials (how to migrate from proprietary to free)

Nico: there are practitioneeers and developers in the room, how to better use the different, 10k at disposal

Mike: Thanks Bruna, good wrap…Sharing of experiences on what openwrt compatible commercial devices can be flashed with libremesh might be useful.

Mike: thanks Bruna, great list…i found it here: Hardware

Eric: interesting combo of vendors in NYCmesh: Installations v2020.03_Draft - Google Presentaties and nice graphics

Eric: ideas for synergies between CoPs?

Bruna: still soon, second CoP meeting, but certainly a great idea

Nico: that is amazing, that is not a usual background

lets talk about Learning drivers…there are many reasons, but let us mention a few, because we want to hear yours…we mentioned alread many in the email thread

  • struggles
  • upcoming projects
  • improving the craft
  • share the road with others

Some example topics that could be explored, just to summarize them again:

LibreRouter, Libremesh

What are the localization needs for the software?

What additional features are needed for libremesh and the captive portal module? What needs for LimeApp?

How to keep the mesh network updated considering hardware/firmware updates, compatibility of equipments and average user tech skills?

What are the frequent issues that happen in LibreMesh networks that should be addressed? How can the community contribute to that process?

What are the most frequent maintenance requirements in any network and how LibreMesh can do to help diagnose and fix them?

CN Kit in a box…having everything in one place/one box

What are the different use-cases for the Kit?

What different types of equipment are needed in the different kits?

How important is the enclosure? What design needs are there for the enclosure?

Mobile network equipment option…

What are the hardware and software options and development needs? – how to compare 2/4G equipment vs pure 4G equipment, NiB designs, what cloud services are needed?

How to implement a network from the ground up? Considerations?

User devices

What are recommendations for optimal end-user devices for CNs, other non-traditional device designs like the RPI audio recorder.

Is it worth building a wifi phone like this? https://www.crowdsupply.com/arsenijs/zerophone

Other devices like Internet-in-a-box or pocketable devices or esp32 based wifi/bluetooth connected devices, or custom embedded devices… are they considered and how do they contribute?

What about old android devices as servers (with server apps and hotspot active or as clients of other networks)?...repurposing equipment

…these are just a few questions that came out, about thinking learning together. P2P is rather CoP 3 and will be discusses

Topics you would like to explore

What topics are you currently exploring?

Which ones are in your bucket list?Next stepsProposal

We want to support the growth of these spaces of learning, so as an initial commitment we have allocated U$S 10.000 to each CoP that you will be able to decide how to invest.

Hi everyone and let’s continue the collective thinking kicked-off!

Important info

The date of the next follow-up session is Monday May 2nd, 13UTC at Communities of Practice

Let’s join and continue learning together!

Brief

For those who missed it: on March 30th, already 7 collaboratores of CNs met to discuss challenges, problems and visions around open source mesh networks, captive portals, and networks-in-a-box concepts. Thanks to all who were there!

You can find the meeting notes here, slides, and video recordings: CoP 2 log | Active infrastructure (routers, mobile network equipment, devices, CN kit in a box and more...)

The main topics of interest up to now in the call were:

  • Eric was interested in exploring on /how to migrate from proprietary network solutions
    to open source ones, in particular to mesh technology (and not having to throw everything and start over)
  • Dinesh wanted to explore How a captive portal can help in mitigating network abuse by gamers within community networks (and what improvements can be done in Libremesh’s Pirania to accompish them)
  • German Ferrero commented about briefly about Pirania
  • It was mentioned (I think off-call by Sarbani) the relevance of having LibreMesh open source software localized
  • Sanketh was interested in exploring using LibreMesh in different devices other than the LibreRouter, as logistics and taxes in India are a big headache… issue that Bruna agreed with from Brazil.
  • And as a continuation to previous message, Pablo said he was getting into building some of the LibreRouter parts locally to
    reduce costs and simplify import duties.

Discussion space

I added all our conversations from the other day to the CoP2 log post on communitynetworks.group.

I would like to spend some time shaping a space for us on the forum if you feel it useful for the purpose of this CoP, and would love to have your inputs on this.

Please go ahead and edit the content on this page, were I am trying to design it.

Next Steps

We are meeting again next week to discuss the next steps:

  • What projects and solutions can we collectively work on?
  • Who would like to share / to learn / to create / localize something?
  • How much time and effort would/could you dedicate this within next
    months? Do you you see yourself rather in the driving seat, as a
    co-pilote or an active passenger?
  • How to make good use of the resources with have for this?

Meanwhile, let’s continue sharing and conspiring together on better active infrastructure for CNs.

REMEMBER: This is an open space, meaning that you can invite others (and others should be able to invite themselves). As we keep building the space, please include colleagues and other CN builders who should be on this list.

Community of Practice 2: Active Infrastructure Meeting Notes

CoP 2 follow-up meeting (May 2nd 2022)

Present:
Nico (all LocNet)
Eric (Wakoma)
Dinesh (Janastu)

Agenda:

  1. topic

Hello dear Active Infra CoP collegues!!!

A quick brief of where we were, we were discussing about a few potential projects that you all would like to explore:

About moving from closed source networking to open source networking

Sanketh proposed to do a workshop to undertand the firmware compiling process as a kickstart of providing support to new equipment.
This idea covers also Eric’s intention of expanding LibreMesh hardware compatibility list… it could be a complementary task.

LibreRouter parts manufacturing

Specifically replication of open source antenna building lab started by Pablo, proposed by Dinesh, that wanted to replicate what is being than in Argentina.

Captive portal functionality

to mitigate network abuse by gamers proposed by Dinesh

LibreMesh Localization

proposed by Sarbani


Are there any missing?
Who is interested in being involved in which ones?
How would you like the resources to get close to achieving these objectives? equipment, hiring, training, documentation, …?

We should get the ideas to a stage that can be funded, and that have people commited to explore them… So in the case there is enough energy for any of these (and collective agreement that we should put resources there), we should meet to set the expectations.

Would like to propose you all to meet next Thursday 13 UTC so we can keep building these projects (and start with them as soon as possible).

I will work on a project template and send to you all as soon as possible so we can work on this collaboratibly the earliest.

Active Infrastructure CoP June 30

===============================

Attendees: Nico, Pablo, Sol, Manoj, Sanket, ZPhoenix, bruna

Proposals to discuss:

CoP is for us to grow together, what topics we can gather around?

For you to share with the rest of the group: what has been the proposal development we have been discussion, our early drafts.

Nico: I particularly have to share about Dinesh’s project I’ve done some research.

Sanketh: how do we customize libremesh, specially lime-app, to put more localized services, what is relevant to our community. How we do a customized lime-app for our community.

Nico: I remember Hiure from coolab proposing peer-programming, like a hot-sit. Alocate 3 hours to work on that and we all work on one computer, remotely (10m each in the driver’s seat).

Sanketh: some kind of a hackaton?

Nico: define simple challenges and guide us to the process of learning. Find someone to guide us.

Pablo: what kind of changes Sanketh?

Sanketh: lime-app, in the back-end, what we want on the front page, local language so our community can do trouble-shooting.

Nico: Localizing it but also adding features and capabilities. There is one group that has already done that. Adding funcionaties to lime-app is a bigger challenge, not impossible. Go to experience of creating some simple funcionalities.

Sanketh: is there a tutorial already?

Nico: information is quite scatered. Guide: https://hackmd.io/A1whRer2TX6bXCkSG8jFHg → it is done in a library that is popular but not easy to use. it is called preact.

Sanketh: we would need a forum, a wiki, to each community of developers in different countries.

Nico: build a collaborative documentation space? CoP’s forum and wiki, HW and SW modifications documentation. Practice of how to document.

Documenting what we do is essencial.

Possible projects:

  • Localization and customization of what we do;
  • Documentation and translating;
  • Creating a CoP forum and wiki

ZPhoenix (chat) → how different is react and preact?

Nico: Routers need very small pagages, light weight, that’s why we use preact.

Nico: creating a space for Active Infra CoP: https://communitynetworks.group/c/cops/activeinfra/17

Dinesh: most people are from altermundi and servelots?

Nico: it’s an open space, we can ask more people. Good question, what is holding people from being here?

Dinesh: maybe we should write to the community and ask if they want to join us

Nico (chat):

https://hackmd.io/-X6wyNkFSfypOyze1u1waA

Nico: We can share with others what we are doing so people can join.

Manoj, Dinesh, Pablo, Sol, David → Antenna workshop replication

Sanketh, ZPhoenix → Libremesh customisations

Eric, Sankeyh → building Libremesh for other HW than LibreRouters

  • be able to build own firmware
  • be able to patch the firmware issues

Write/list about Janastu/Servelots mesh needs - feature request and space for learning