[Commotion-discuss] [Commotion-dev] BeWifi lets you steal your neighbor’s bandwidth when they’re not using it

Ben West ben at gowasabi.net
Sun Jan 26 18:05:51 UTC 2014

Quoting details about the actual hardware being built:

"The way Telefonica has made this happen in a practical way is to build its
own routers that can be installed in houses within a neighborhood. So far
these have had to be installed by engineers, but the next generation are
plug-and-play, and eventually all that will be needed is an over-the-air
software update to customers' existing routers. According to Rodriguez, the
software 'creates a mesh to aggregate the capabilities [of the routers].'
Pooling all of the bandwidth from these routers allows anyone within the
network to take advantage of it at home, and they can also connect to any
BeWifi network they come across on their mobile devices when out and about."

It could very well be the Telefonica routers would do some sort intelligent
repeating or meshing wirelessly, although I'm guessing much of the
bandwidth optimization may be accomplished by ensuring adjacent access
points do not overlap channels or broadcast with excessive TX power.  (This
is because I'm assuming Telefonica provides its broadband service nominally
via conventional wireline, e.g. DSL or cable, and actual wireless backhaul
in such a scheme would be used seldom.)

My question: would Telefonica subscribers then be *required* to use the
router provided, with its stock firmware, per revised ToS?  And likewise
they would be given very limited admin permissions on that device (e.g.
change the SSID and WPA key, but little else)?  I can understand the need
to compel subscribers as such to ensure uniform bandwidth management, but
it still seems like this walks in opposite directions of what community
mesh advocates are seeking.

On Sun, Jan 26, 2014 at 9:07 AM, Dan Staples <
danstaples at opentechinstitute.org> wrote:

> http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/01/bewifi-lets-you-steal-your-neighbors-bandwidth-when-theyre-not-using-it/
> When I read it, I was thinking, "hey that sounds kind of like...oh. Ok,
> it's mesh."
> Proprietary issues aside, it's interesting. Of course, sharing internet
> bandwidth is nothing new with mesh networks; any OLSRd-based network
> like Commotion provides internet bandwidth sharing from multiple gateways.
> What I'm still curious about is *how* BeWifi pools or distributes that
> bandwidth. Unless there is some sort of network coding/multipath TCP
> functionality (which would require similar capabilities at the
> destination), it is presumably just doing optimized gateway selection to
> route a user's traffic to the internet. OLSRd's Smart Gateway plugin
> does this, sort of, but without bandwidth measurements AFAIK. Although I
> hear OLSRd v2 can do this even better.
> Also interesting that it's being piloted in Catalonia...I wonder how
> Guifi.net feels about it ;)
> Dan
> --
> Dan Staples
> Open Technology Institute
> https://commotionwireless.net
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Ben West
ben at gowasabi.net
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