[Freedombox-discuss] FreedomBox Testing 2012.0617 Image Published

Isaac Wilder isaac_lists at freenetworkmovement.org
Tue Jun 19 02:02:12 UTC 2012

On 06/18/2012 08:43 PM, John Gilmore wrote:
>> This is the path I'd like to explore for developing Freedombox tools -- the ability to communicate off the grid using point-to-point with routing beyond to some remote 3rd party.
>> Are there WiMAX add-on boards which do the same (for longer distances)?
> I strongly suggest using *wires* rather than wireless, whenever possible.
It may surprise some that I actually tend to agree. The bedeviling part,
though, is the 'whenever possible.' It may be possible to organize
cooperative networks using a wireless approach, when the effort to do so
using a wired approach would not be practical. I really do think that we
should use copper and glass whenever possible - yet I also think it
necessary to recognize that there are many situations in which it is
*not* possible.
> You can trivially push a gigabit of traffic through an Ethernet cable
> that can stretch from one apartment to another, or from one house to
> another along a fence.  And this gigabit won't conflict or compete with
> any other traffic you're handling to other neighbors, nor compete with
> wireless nodes.
Yes. Wired networks, once built, perform much better. The problem is
construction. It seems to me that folks are much more willing to install
a transponder in their window than to trench and drill cable from one
house to another.
> With a couple of readily available converter boxes, you can plug that
> gigabit Ethernet into a fiber that can go to a destination up to 80km
> away.
So, this comes to the heart of the issue, in my opinion: rights of way.
You *can* plug it into a fiber, but legally you *may* not, unless you
petition the government for the right to bury that fiber in a way that
makes it useful. It seems to me that regulatory capture and the state
bureaucracy practically ensure that horizontal, cooperatives networks
will not be granted access to crucial rights of way in which to place fiber.
> WiFi is sexy, but Ethernet (and Ethernet running over fibers) is what
> runs most real dependable Internet services worldwide.  If you share
> your Internet connection with your closest neighbor over Ethernet, via
> a FreedomBox, you'll unclog your wireless spectrum, and improve the
> reliability and privacy of both of your Internet connections.
And if you do it using wireless, you *will* clog your spectrum, but you
won't have to drill through your masonry, or ask the building manager if
there's a riser that you can rent. It's not just that wireless is 'sexy'
- there are real trade-offs in practicality.

> 	John
> PS:  Wires and fibers are much harder to wiretap than radio signals.
And yet infrastructure built with those technologies is routinely
wiretapped, precisely because such buildouts require interfacing with
corrupt state actors.

Isaac Wilder
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