Q: IS WISPiab a server based solution only?
A: No. The WISPiab consists of front access node and back end server - see http://wirelessafrica.meraka.org.za/wiki/index.php/WISPiab_specifications#High_level_architecture
Q: Does it include some expected functionality at the network nodes?
Yes. Network nodes will have to support a variety of routing protocols as well as 1st line authentication, even if certain business models may decide to leave access to the front access nodes (and the local network) free of charge. See http://wirelessafrica.meraka.org.za/wiki/index.php/WISPiab_specifications#Software_Specification_.2F_Feature_list_for_the_WISP-in-a-box_product
Q: Do the network nodes remain open for community access (point-to-point communication not going past the gateway, hence not billed and free)?
A: This is currently open for discussion. On the tech layer, it will support all modes - e.g.
- fully open local network (with all the risk this entails, e.g. DOS attacks)
- authenticated / controlled, yet free (not billed)
- authenticated and billed
Q: Does this mean the entrepreneur seeks to create an entirely closed solution that limits access to resources stream up from the gateway via access control, where billing options might include pre-paid or post-paid?
A: What the question describes, is one possible mode of operation - bit the WISPiab does not limit the entrepreneur to this mode. The line between free and paid-for services and parts of the network should be drawn by the bsuiness model, not technology.
Q: how does the WISP-in-a-box project relate to the Village-Telco project?
A: The two projects have developed indepenedently, yet are seeking to explore synergy and cooperation. The overlap on technical level is significant, in that both projects to a large extent draw on the same ingredients (e.g. OpenWRT and derived, CoovaAP, OpenSER on Software level, Linksys WRT54GL as current Hardware choice) rather than on self developed new code. The main difference is:
Village Telco / the Dabba project focusses on the creation of a Village Telco (as in Voice Services Provider), while the WISPiab project puts focus on the general ISP operations, connectivity and ISP billing, creating infrastructure for a variety of services, with Voice being one of those.