so they are gonna kill net neutrality I assume, so whats our next step? start building out our nation wide mesh networks?

@wakest Cooperatively owned and democratically managed, internationally linked mesh networks would be my personal preference.

@h @wakest I think there's a technical bias in favor of mesh networks - that mesh and peer-to-peer apps with data replication is the only thing which truly scales. But there's a political bias against mesh networks in that they aren't easily amenable to centralized control and monetization via choke points, portals or paywalls. The future is likely to be a tussle between the technical and the political factors with a mixture of client/server and p2p.

@bob @wakest

Once you're ready to remove the profit motive, and begin to interpret value independently of the concept of money, magical things begin to happen.

@bob @h @wakest One area of research I want to get into once I get a viable Kestrel Computer platform is free-space optical networking. There's RONJA which predates me, but its range is limited (by necessity; the farther out you go, the more amplification you need on the input stage, which means higher impedance on the LNA. Coupled with the capacitance of the photodiode array, that drops input bandwidth *fast*). Free-space optical is a prerequisite in my mind for true grass-roots networking.

@h @bob @wakest You can go sea-level to the moon if you want. The trick is to NOT USE LASERS, as everyone is so keen to do. Lasers decohere almost immediately as soon as it hits any particulate matter in the air, or has nasty diffraction effects in weather cells. A *fat*, incoherent tube of light works a lot better (that's why lighthouses work so well in stormy weather). Audio bandwidths have been communicated up to 230+ miles on a single link this way.

@wakest @bob @h I should point out that the reason the bandwidth was limited to a single AF channel is because of the time-constant effects between the photodiodes and the high impedance of the LNA, which combines to make a low pass filter. If you can work around that, your bandwidth can be improved markedly.

I have some ideas on this front, but I need the time and equipment to play, hence one of my private motivations for my Kestrel project. :)

@vertigo @bob @wakest

Audio as in ultrasound, I assume?
What would have to be the power of the ultrasound signal?
You enter a territory marred with medical concerns due to the biological implications if you're going to use these networks in a space where humans, animals, and other living things exist.

@h @bob @wakest No; audio as in 20Hz to 4kHz, same as an ordinary telephone.

@vertigo @bob @wakest

Ah, good. But then those frequencies are for wire, not wireless. I assumed we were discussing long distances (at least metropolitan) over a wireless link.
Wires preclude deployment in crowded, tightly regulated areas.

@h @bob @wakest You're not understanding; it has nothing to do with wired or wireless. :) The issue is the receiver's *amplifier*. With greater distance, your received power drops off with the square of the distance. So the further away your transmitter, the greater amplification you need to recover a usable signal. (In a wire, you have Ohmic effects which degrade the signal; in free-space, it's just normal optical effects and scattering).

@wakest @bob @h To amplify incredibly weak signals, you need enormous gains, on par with a radio telescope in fact. The input impedance for such an amplifier must be very high, tens of megohms at least, so as to not put load on the receiving transducer (a photodiode in our case).

The photodiodes themselves are operated in a reverse bias, which means there is actually a degree of capacitance to them, measured in nanofarads. If you multiply 1nF * 1 Mohms, you get 1 millisecond, which means 1kHz

@h @bob @wakest The math is a bit more complex than that, but it is good enough to ballpark channel bandwidth on the back of an envelop.

@vertigo @h @bob this is the most fediverse possible outcome of the original question posed. I love it.

@vertigo @bob @wakest

So, let's see if I follow you. You're saying that the optimal frequencies to transmit *and* receive are in the audio range (humanly audible frequencies, from 20 Hz to 4 Khz). You're saying that free-space is better to avoid Ohmic effects.
I'm trying to understand what medium and environments would match the ideal conditions you think would be workable.

@h @bob @wakest It's not that there is one preferential bandwidth; it's a function of distance. (It's also why you can't get DSL service beyond a certain radius from a telco). The further out you go, the slower the link. The closer you are, the faster you can push it (you can get by with lower impedance amplifiers at the front-end of the receiver). RONJA gets 10Mbps (literally, it's 10-base-2 ethernet over optical!). But it won't cover a 200+ mile distance at those speeds.

@vertigo @h @bob @wakest He said audio *bandwidths*, not frequencies. So ~4-16 kbps?

@seanl @h @bob @wakest If using BPSK or QPSK, yes. But audio quality even at those distances are quite good, so you can probably push it higher with something like QAM16 or 64. I think you could reasonably expect 64kbps out of a link at that distance with some clever use of math.

@seanl @vertigo @bob @wakest

Sorry, Vertigo said audio bandwidths, and later I made a different question, to which he replied telling me which are the audio frequencies.

@h @seanl @bob @wakest Apologies -- that's radio and electrical engineering lingo; an "audio frequency" channel is any radio channel that is capable of carrying audio frequencies. It's not a channel -at- audio frequencies. Sorry for the confusion.

@vertigo @bob @wakest

What would the medium look like?
What would be the ideal setting?

Drastically varying density of populations means that in different segments you need to optimise for different needs. Connecting two towns separated by 100 miles is not the same as connecting two neighbours separated by a few blocks.

@h @bob @wakest So, you would need a line of sight from point A to point B, obviously. Otherwise, you'll need some kind of repeater station to overcome the shadow created by the intervening obstrction.

That said, assuming you have line of sight, a 100 mile link can probably be bridged with a single transmitter on one end, and a receiver on the other. Each would be about the size of a 15" SONY Trinitron monitor (mostly empty space for the optics required), and they'd face each other.

@wakest @bob @h It'd be like aiming a flashlight in one town at a specific flashlight in another town. There would be nothing in between. You could probably get 64 to 256kbps through a link at 100 mile range. (Just a rough estimate; I've NOT tested this.)

@wakest @bob @h Of course, things like fog and other visual obstruction will interfere with the signal, possibly enough to produce a network partition. It's best to have redundancy in your connections (maybe a slow radio link, for example, for high priority traffic).

@vertigo @wakest @bob

You could use a parallel slow radio link for routing, control, and QoS.

@vertigo @wakest @bob

I think that this is the kind of project that would require a very well defined product that is relatively less DIY in which many people can participate with minimal knowledge.
Say, three different types of kit usable at different ranges.
The people inclined to do the harder work linking cities and towns may sometimes not be technically oriented, they could be non-technical activists bridging working groups together.

@h @wakest @bob That's just a question of productization though. Consider what's possible first, then productize only after that.

@vertigo @wakest @bob

Considering what's possible is exactly what we were doing.

I was replying to Sean who suggested that everything exists already because ham radio users have been doing it for ages, which is missing the whole point.

Making it a workable product for adoption by non-radio-people is the whole point, and as you're aware, an entirely different kind of job.
I wouldn't trivialise it saying it's just productisation. It's work that hasn't been done, work that somebody has to do.

@bob @wakest @vertigo

Integration work and designing products that work for people is work. It's not computer science, and it's not electrical engineering, but it's another kind of engineering.

@h @bob @wakest I would argue, though, that if it's put to good and socially responsible use, that "other kind" of work falls under the "rewarding work" category. That's what I'm hopefully going for. ;-)

@h @wakest @bob Sorry; the lack of a visual cue to indicate the threading tree confuses me. :)

@vertigo @wakest @bob

I'm frequently confused here too. The limits of the medium become apparent when you use it anyway, that's not a bad thing.
Maybe something that will be alleviated using a forthcoming Mastodon client that does threading better.

Someone showed me a GUI that did display Mastodon threads as a tree graph. It was an interesting experiment some months ago, perhaps I should look again into it.

@vertigo @wakest @bob

On the software level, taking TCP packets, encoding them as audio, and sending them over a radio link seems easy enough that the software could be packaged as a simple application to assist the hardware.

@h @vertigo @wakest @bob Amateur radio operators have been doing that since long before wifi existed.

@seanl @h @vertigo @wakest @bob I just realized "ham" is probably a shortening of "amateur." My grandfather is a ham and I never noticed that before

@seanl @vertigo

I am aware that radio exists and that people use it for things.
You may have missed some earlier toots.

I'm not trying to discover radio waves, I'm trying to find a different ways of applying already-existing tech.

Different uses have different constraints and require different ways of delivering a product that works for specific purposes.

We were discussing something different, not ham radio, which I am already well aware it exists.

Maybe read what we discussed earlier?

@h @vertigo I think you're misunderstanding me. What I meant was that amateur radio operators have been doing the exact thing you described. Packaging IP as *audio* and sending it through radio microphone interfaces.

@seanl @vertigo

You think I don't know too many things I already know.

Again, please read earlier toots.

Show more

@bob @wakest @vertigo

The idea is to reuse existing software, and *adding* on top of that. Then integrating tools it in such a way that it helps control, routing, QoS handling, etc. so that the *goal* of assembling co-op operated networks and ISPs becomes easier or hopefully trivial work in the future.

This is *not* ham radio. This is a different application of radio, and existing software.

@h @bob @wakest @vertigo I never suggested ham radio. I just meant the software exists, written by hams.


Sorry, it's just that maybe you should assume that the people involved have a basic level of understanding of these things.
Whilst we may not remember the exact name of the software packages, we have known that digital information can be transmitted as audio for decades.
I understand the enthusiasm and spirit that motivates the urge to contribute and that can't be a bad thing. Please consider that frequent derivations can be distracting from the focus of the discussion.

@h If you really cared so much about avoiding distraction you could have simply not responded. But correcting people who might have made bad assumptions about your knowledge or what you meant seems to be more important to you than avoiding deviations from the core discussion.

@vertigo @bob @h I have never seen anyone else judge the size of something compared to a trinitron. I know that size so well I can picture it better than most things. I have about 17 of them and I have moved 4 times in the last 3 years...

@wakest @vertigo @bob

Hehehe, Trinitron works well as a rough measurament unit. It helps to avoid being too precise, and to avoid translating feet and inches into other units.

@h @vertigo @bob if someone knows how exactly how heavy a trinitron is than you know they know some other things...

@bob @vertigo @wakest

I would never say the area of my yard is of about 500 trinitrons, but for these purposes it's really concise and it works 😃

@h @bob @vertigo I fucking wish I had 500 trinitrons. I would build a palace if I did... actually what I really want is 500 Dotronix to make a wall out of....

@h @bob @wakest How? It's light; we're bombarded with light that is modulated in all frequencies daily with no ill effects. Let me make it clear again -- the **channel bandwidth** was audio frequency; the medium was free-space optical.

@wakest @h @bob I've historically also been a fan of token-ring networks, if for no other reason than the fact that it achieves 90% efficiencies effortlessly. They're not as useful in a LAN situation, but for a backbone, they'd be great. A mesh network is theoretically great for hauling a lot of data, but in practice, I'm not so sure. Maybe 50% at best. Any real-world network will likely be a combination of the two, especially as usage scales.

@bob @h @wakest There's another issue, which is that people expect to reach the services they consider "the Internet" (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever). There are no transparent FOSS workalikes out there, which means people don't use them. This also means negotiating uplinks from the mesh to the public Net... which means running right into de facto censorship.

Also, fucking Android...

@drwho @wakest @h Any strategy which is fundamentally based upon a continuation of the old world will fail for certain. Client/server systems like Twitter won't scale within a mesh.

@bob @h @wakest They don't scale very far, no. Store-and-forward with eventual consistency works pretty well but options are pretty thin on the ground.

@bob @h @wakest The real kicker is that the apps people have installed on their phones - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram - won't work in that environment because they can't phone home. That really ticks people off.

not necessarily mesh networks, we should just start coops that provide network infrastructure and pledge to respect net neutrality. Meshing isn't possible in/across extremely low-density (population wise) areas like the US has.

@Maltimore @wakest Well, *technically*, it's doable. The problem is the long-range infrastructure that this would be needed to make happen.

More poignantly, mesh networks collapse under their own weight once you grow the network beyond a certain inflection point. Link maintenance overhead starts to dominate traffic, and you get diminishing returns after that. Network partitions will become frequent under even moderate load.

And we know there'll be load from spammers.

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