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Focusing on the Social Layer in Wireless Mesh Communities
Jonathan Baldwin – jrbaldwin.com
for Master’s Thesis in Design + Technology
Parsons, the New School for Design in NYC
Origin of Interest
Darknet Initiatives Internet Censorship Voice, Data, SMS too expensive Rural areas lacking Internet The Arab Spring & Communication Shutdown
Project Byzantium OpenMesh Project Internet in a Suitcase
Mondonet Dandelion Message Service One Laptop Per Child Netsukuku Village Telco - Mesh Potato MIT Roofnet
Established Mesh Communities
Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network Freifunk FabFi in Afghanistan Dharamsala Wireless Mesh Wlan Slovenija
Share connectivity anywhere Repairs itself on the fly Lower Cost Decentralized Ebbs & Flows with social/physical landscapes
Can be used in emergencies Eliminate Censorship Extend to Rural areas Nearly free communication Turn any device into router
Some Open Mesh Protocols
Babel B.A.T.M.A.N. advanced OLSRd SMesh
With all this great tech...
Why aren’t there more communities? When will mesh reach critical mass? What about Common Person Implementation?
Social needs of mesh?
“Community Building over Neighborhood Wireless Mesh Networks” IEEE Tech & Society 2008 Need social incentives: - Reward cooperation & resource sharing - Build Reputation / Trust
Cross Layer Cooperation
Cooperation is needed or mesh won’t thrive Contribute as much as you consume Physical/Access Network Application Social
Need to create an interdependent online community tied into the offline Reciprocal exchange economy of resources: Power/Battery Use Packet Forwarding CPU Cycles Internet Gateway / Hardware / Software Knowledge
Reputation & Trust
Relying on each others contributions to maintain stability Physical proximity of mesh networks can exploit real world aquiantances Ad Hoc networks lack trust, not enough time to develop community
Need to engage general public Make them empathize with mesh Understand & visualize mesh While: Building trust Reinforcing interdependence Creating reciprocity
What about social games?
ugh, Farmville...32 million daily users Endless game cycles = endless networking Exchange Economy Social Networking Integration
Social Mechanics for Social Games
Reciprocal & Gift Economies Trust & Reputation between players Guilds & Tribes - Grouped by association (homogenous) Exclusivity - trusted / invite networks Mentoring Task assignment for group members
(also in swarm intelligence)
Impact of Scale
Level 1 Group of People Level 2 Village/Campus Size Level 3 Neighborhood Level 4 Linked Neighborhoods Level 5 Metropolitan Area Network + Public ISP
Start slow, empower users over time
Amy Jo Kim, Community Building on the Web
Gamification bridges mechanics to real world
Applying these mechanics to mesh hypothetically...
Measuring contributions to: Power/Battery Use - Packet Forwarding - CPU Cycles
Knowledge & Teaching Hardware construction & Repair Software Development & Installing Running Internet & GSM Gateways Social/Community Presence
Global Reputation meter for Ad Hoc Networks?
Game Scenario - remix of “Treasure Isle”
Starting out on own mesh node
Gained knowledge gems!
Showing Worth (another social mechanic)
Islands grow with self worth, more room for expressive space
Color of plants and types of items that “spawn” reflect prominent resource skills
Augmenting Community Interests
Need to address local needs for existing local networks (village/town, office, art space, etc.)
- Neighbourhood tasks - Decision making - Organizational activities / Announcements - Security
Create a super-localized Craigslist & eBay
Extend Resource Economy past Mesh
Create need for local mesh as community asset, something to maintain...
...like a community garden
Ripple Monetary System
Peer to Peer Economy - Open & Decentralized, based on Trust - Monetary Honour System - For mesh community micro-economies?
Recycled Computers/Phones “revived” Cantenna/Woktenna Directional Links FabFi Infrastructure openBTS + old GSM phones? DIY Omnidirectional Antennas?
“Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network” -> Freifunk Manual
Focus on open source protocols that work cross platform: - Laptop/Desktop - Mobile Devices - localized + ad hoc - OpenWRT Routers to build backbones Babel or B.A.T.M.A.N. or OLSRd??
... BUT – Still hard for average users to install mesh protocols :(
Setup mesh testbed at Parsons with possible directional link to NYU Experiment with localized economy / social tools/ resource sharing between students / schools
Antoniadis, P., Le Grand, B. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France Satsiou, A., Tassiulas, L. University of Thessaly & Informatics and Telematics Institute, Greece Aguiar, R., Barraca, J., Sargento, S., Instituto de Telecomunicações, Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal Community Building over Neighborhood Wireless Mesh Networks IEEE Technology and Society, March 2008 Johnson, D., Matthee, K., Sokoya, D., Mboweni, L., Makan, A., Kotze, H. Building a Rural Wireless Mesh Network Meraka Institute, 2007 Kim, Amy Jo Community Building on the Web, Peachpit Press, 2000 Koster, Raph “Social Mechanics: The Engines Behind Everything Multiplayer” http://www. raphkoster.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Koster_Social_Social-mechanics_GDC2011.pdf March 2011
See you at CCC!
Jonathan Baldwin jrbaldwin.com @jrbaldwinn