WISPiab work meeting 200806

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Contents

Work meeting of the WISP-in-a-box project

The WISP-in-a-box project

Date

June 2-3-4, 2008

9-17 h

Location

Meraka Institute, Building 43 C, Hummingbird Room (C128, ground floor)


Pretoria

Invitation List

People and organisations with an active interest in building a concrete product that helps bringing

connectivity to underserviced, underprivileged and overcharged communities in Africa.


Invitation list:

  • Steve Song / Shuttleworth Foundation (monday only)
  • Rael Lissoos / Dabba
  • Henry Marnitz / Ndlovu Medical Centre (wednesday only)
  • Mark Summer, Inveneo (with request to forward to Ubiquiti)
  • Elektra
  • Mike Jensen (not confirmed)
  • Kobus Roux, Meraka (NOT monday)
  • Karel Matthee, Meraka
  • Kim Gush, Meraka
  • David Johnson, Meraka
  • Chris Morris, Meraka
  • Grant Cambridge, Meraka
  • Shela Boshomane, Meraka (monday and wednesday)
  • George James, Meraka
  • Johann Hugo, Meraka
  • John Hay, Meraka
  • Ajay Makan, Meraka
  • Sebastian Buettrich



More proposals are welcome!

Budgets for travel, if needed: Please contact us!

Contact

Sebastian

mail: sebastian@less.dk

skype: sebastian_buettrich

cell: (+27) (0) 79 915 32 92

Timeplan

The timeplan is draft level and will be adjusted to people's ability to join for limited periods.

The first day will be dedicated to the organizational layer,

introducing the various projects and teams, discussing the business models, identifying overlap of work agendas as well as the main challenges each of the projects are seeing.

The second day will move down to detail level, moving from business and organizational models to technology requirements/specifications.

The third day



Day 1 - Monday, June 2

Morning

Creating Context

Introductions, Presentations of participants

(Short 10 mns, informal project introductions)

  • Introduction and WISPiab Project (Sebastian Buettrich)
  • Dabba / Orange Farm / Village Telco (Rael Lissoos)
  • Ndlovu Medical Centre (Henry Marnitz) (moved to Wednesday, June 4)
  • Peeble's Valley Mesh (David Johnson)
  • Digital Doorway (tba)
  • Inveneo platform (Mark Summer)
  • WISPiab work status (George James)
  • Wireless Africa project (Chris Morris)
  • Freifunk, B.a.t.m.a.n. & Meraka Mesh Testbed (Elektra)
  • DIY Guide & Zambia LinkNet (Karel Matthee)
  • IP04 (it46, rowetel) (on behalf of the project: Sebastian Buettrich)

Afternoon

Business models

Introduction: Sebastian

Business models may be classified according to a number of different dimensions -

e.g. financial/economic layer, tech/network topology layer, applications layer, social layer, -

Based on the experience of the participants and projects, business models should be reviewed with the goal of reaching a downselection of models that should be implemented/supported in the first iteration of the WISPiab project.

Classical examples:

  • Voice services - The Village Telco
  • "Line sharing" - sharing internet access between organizations
  • Telecentre / Internet Cafe
  • Campus / School network

The goal is to go through all our relevant models, to classify them on all layers,

and to identify the technology implications (such that technology follows business models, and not vice versa), producing a clear results list.


Cooperations and Resources

There is significant overlap between projects on the technology layer. All projects are subscribing to free software models (GPL / CC, etc).

We are operating against a backdrop of

  • challenged (human) resource situation
  • brain drain / skills exodus
  • wanting to build local (i.e. african? ... southern african? .... south african?) capacity

Cooperation between projects seems appropriate and possible.

The goal is to conclude this meeting with a clear picture of modes of cooperation.


Advisory Group

We wish to form an advisory group / peer group, including partly the invitees of this meeting, but not limited to these.


Day 2 - Tuesday, June 3

Morning

Technical Requirements / Specifications - detail level

Examples of concrete detail issues:

  • Authentication - where and how
  • Billing in mesh networks
  • VoIP in mesh networks


The goal of this session is to fill the matrix of

technology requirements x project/business model

and then check this matrix against the various existing hardware/software platforms.


Hardware platforms aspects

A number of different hardware/software platforms are fulfilling subsets of our requirements.

The available platforms need to be discussed and evaluated, towards a decision on what to choose.

The platforms that our projects are currently working with are:

  • Linksys WRT54, with firmwares OpenWRT, DD-WRT, Freifunk, CoovaAP, and similar
  • Open-Mesh, Accton - with Open Mesh Firmware (new firmware anoounced for summer 2008, with: RO.B.IN, orangemesh, COOVA, etc)
  • Inveneo platform
  • Ubiquti NS, PS
  • Meraka Bokkie routers
  • pls add!


Hands-on work

Part of this session will be practical experiments with the platforms - if appropriate, in breakout sessions.


Afternoon

Productification / Dissemination / Rollout strategies

  • Strategies for the productification of software packages
    • Sourceforge platform plans (Steve?)
    • Ubuntu / UCK (Sebastian, Mark, Elektra)
  • Rollout capacity

Hands-on work

Part of this session will be practical experiments with the platforms - if appropriate, in breakout sessions.


Day 3 - Wednesday, June 4

Morning

Ndlovu Medical Center

Status and Agenda of network at Ndlovu Medical Center

  • How can the various projects benefit Ndlovu Medical Center?


Status, gaps and planning of implementations

  • WISPiab status and work plan
  • Dabba / Village Telco work sprint, June 16-20
    • prepare and support that workshop

Hands-on work

Part of this session will be practical experiments with the platforms - if appropriate, in breakout sessions.

Afternoon

Conclusions & Next steps

  • Dabba Worksprint
  • WISPiab work plan
  • Digital Doorway work
  • Wireless Africa, June meeting

etc

Notes from the meeting - Day 1

People & Project introductions

  • Introduction and WISPiab Project (Sebastian Buettrich)
  • Peeble's Valley Mesh (David Johnson)
  • Dabba / Orange Farm / Village Telco (Rael Lissoos)
  • Inveneo platform (Mark Summer)
  • Freifunk (Elektra)
  • DIY Guide & Zambia LinkNet (Karel Matthee)
  • WISPiab work status (George James)
  • Two radio mesh router (Johann Hugo)
  • Wireless Africa project (Chris Morris)

Forming an Alliance?

to be edited

Notes from the meeting - Day 2

Day2 (L-R) Mark Summer, Johann Hugo, Mike Jensen, Elektra, Sebastian Buettrich, Kobus Roux, George James, Ajay Makan, Karel Matthee


Requirements, Specifications, Wishlist

We chose the GUI wishlist by Dabba as an entry to discussing our current specifications set, identifying how we cover the single elements today, identifying dependencies, etc


Whiteboard Day 2
Table context
What? Which element Existing Who/how Alternate names/terms Task
Network Settings core FF, IHL, Coova (wifidog) + alternatives, Linksys & Netgear interfaces, webmin/ISPconfig Network Management, Setup,
ISP settings core Coova, phpMyPrepaid, OpenWRT (QoS script), master-/wondershaper, webmin/ISPconfig user/service profiles – provisioning (some of it -> QoS)
VoIP Settings Users, tarriffs voice AsteriskNow, IP04 HW, Trixbox, A2billing, (Open)SER -->user profiles, --> VoIP settings
Prepaid Card System (print cards) (ops), ->web, ->voice web,voice phpMyPrepaid / ISPBill, A2billing “usage”
CRM core compiere - explore!
Accounting -->logs core phpMyPrepaid/ISPBill, a2billing ->(if bill) ->ERP
Logo/Company core, feeding into the various channels (all components have some of it) themes/skins/ customisation
Network Monitoring core Nagios/Cacti, Open-Mesh, Open NMS, FF (some), MRTG/rrdtool Network management
Items not contained in Dabba GUI
Content repository (SW, media, ...), Video Server (various, different contents for different channels)
Cache\Proxy with stats web squid with awstats
Mail core Postfix, Courier, webmail: squirrelmail
Security & encryption core OpenVPN, GnuPG
httpd, with stats etc web apache, awstats
Wiki / image hosting web mediawiki
Telecentre management (core) UgaBytes telecentre management software - explore!

Business Models

Discussion of business models that have informed the specifications, and a checkback whether we feel that the current specifications actually accomodate all these models.

The template on top suggests dimensions / criteria from which to look at the various models.


Business Model Template

  • Description:
  • Economics: Free or paid by ....
  • Billing models: Subscription / Prepaid (Time/Data based):
  • Applications:
  • Network / Topology:
  • Internet uplink:
  • User Devices / Locations:
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory


Telecentre / Internet Cafe / Hotspot

  • Description: "Classical" telecentre / cafe style
  • Economics: Free or paid by users / advertisers / cafe business
  • Billing models: typically Prepaid (Time based):
  • Applications: typically Browser / Mail / Office / Games
  • Network / Topology: wired LAN
  • Internet uplink: model works with and without uplink, but typically yes
  • User Devices / Locations: Users on business owned PC
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: ok in most (?) countries


Telco

  • Description: Telco offering "fixed line" and mobile VoIP telephony
  • Economics: Part free (?) (local) / paid by user
  • Billing models: typically Prepaid (Time/Data based):
  • Applications: VoIP telephony, typically on dedicated hardware
  • Network / Topology: Centralized / Inframesh
  • Internet uplink: Yes, if terminating external calls / local loop without
  • User Devices / Locations: Users at home / office / mobile, Device VoIP handsets, ATA etc
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: complex, country to country

(Edu)Content / Media

  • Economics: Free or paid by user / external
  • Billing models: Subscription / Prepaid (Time/Data based):
  • Applications: Browser, Video, Image, Sound apps
  • Network / Topology: n/a
  • Internet uplink: not neccessarily, but recommended
  • User Devices / Locations: all kinds of devices, local/remote,
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: apart from restrictions on content, no issues


Intranet / Neighbour-Net

  • Economics: Typically paid by customer
  • Billing models: Contract / "Subscription"
  • Applications: All PC apps
  • Network / Topology: typically centralized, might be mesh
  • Internet uplink: not neccessarily, but recommended
  • User Devices / Locations: PCs and other, local at office or homes
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: no issues

Line Sharing

  • Economics: Typically paid by users, in split scheme (e.g. cost per user = (line cost / # of users)*(marginfactor))
  • Billing models: Prepaid monthly
  • Applications: All PC apps
  • Network / Topology: centralized or mesh
  • Internet uplink: yes
  • User Devices / Locations: PCs and other, local at office or homes
  • Startup Strategy: bottom up, organic
  • Legal & Regulatory: potential issues with DSL or line resell (?), power limits for wireless part

ISP

  • Economics: Typically user paid
  • Billing models: Prepaid monthly, subscription
  • Applications: All apps
  • Network / Topology: centralized or mesh
  • Internet uplink: yes
  • User Devices / Locations: PCs and other, local at office or homes
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: regulations for ISP ops, licensing etc


Web Hosting / Design

A potential part of an ISPs business. Seen as outside scope of this project, however simple home pages / website very common and demanded. E.g. local businesses, etc

Corporate / Managed Services

  • Economics: Typically user paid
  • Billing models: Prepaid monthly, subscription
  • Applications: All apps
  • Network / Topology: centralized or mesh
  • Internet uplink: typically yes
  • User Devices / Locations: PCs and other, local at office or homes
  • Startup Strategy: company initiative
  • Legal & Regulatory: potential issues when mixed user groups share same network (e.g. private, corp, gov, etc)

Strong focus on security (all aspects), network separation, QoS, management.

Guesthouse Net

  • Economics: Typically user (= guesthouse) paid, might be free for customer of guesthouse, or paid for
  • Billing models: if paid for, typically voucher prepaid, time based
  • Applications: All apps
  • Network / Topology: typically centralized
  • Internet uplink: yes
  • User Devices / Locations: users devices, maybe one or several public access PC
  • Startup Strategy: guesthouse initiative
  • Legal & Regulatory: no issues

Housing Complex

similar to Intranet / Neighbournet

  • Economics: Typically user paid, might be included in other service charges or rent
  • Billing models: Prepaid monthly or longer term, subscription
  • Applications: All apps
  • Network / Topology: centralized or mesh, often wired
  • Internet uplink: typically yes
  • User Devices / Locations: PCs and other, local at homes
  • Startup Strategy: owner initiative
  • Legal & Regulatory: no issues

Surveillance

  • Economics: Typically customer paid
  • Billing models: Prepaid monthly, subscription
  • Applications: Very specific, wireless surveillance cams, motion detectors, etc
  • Network / Topology: centralized or mesh
  • Internet uplink: typically yes, in order to allow for remote control and alerts
  • User Devices / Locations: surveillance gear and control units, typically PC/browser/mobile (SMS notifications)
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: generally no issues when limited to company/housing premises. issues when extending into public space. ethics.

Freifunk style Mesh

  • Economics: Typically completely user paid, informal, but might implement business scheme similar to line sharing ((e.g. cost per user = (central uplink cost / # of users)*(marginfactor))
  • Billing models: e.g. Prepaid monthly
  • Applications: All incl telephony
  • Network / Topology: full mesh / inframesh
  • Internet uplink: typically yes, but local net relevant
  • User Devices / Locations: all types of devices, at user homes / office / businesses, roaming users
  • Startup Strategy:
  • Legal & Regulatory: potential issues withpower limits, collision with other networks, DSL reuse / resell


Training / Consultancy

A side business, outside scope for this project, but clearly relevant.



Notes from the meeting - Day 3

Ndlovu Medical Centre

Henry introduces:

  • Status of mesh: operational, but currently disconnected (concerns about lightning)
  • Use of uplink: Browsing (for community users), sync with data center (Johannesburg)
  • Status of uplink: promised by Telkom, but not delivered yet


How to get started with a community mesh?

  • Donated PCs - 25 pcs
    • Give to local entrepreneur types
  • Computer school as entry point
  • Create a starter kit
    • for existing PCs (there is some! mostly free windows)
    • preconfigured
    • low cost
    • probably of the type: Linksys WRT, open-mesh/accton

Financing model

  • Some contribution from user: Prepaid - low cost

What is interesting for people?

  • music!!! open music server locally?
  • free books? educational material
  • free local calls
  • a free wikipedia / digital doorway

Income from other sources (not the users):

  • advertisements

To do / upcoming:

  • call for a brainstorm meeting within the community
  • June 9, meeting with provincial directory
  • June 24: excursion to Ndlovu? participants of Wireless Africa meeting, Meraka people, Tom, Elektra


Top pain points / whats in the way:

  • political level - get OKs from important players

Hardware reference platform

Overall Requirements

  • 12 Volts (best: 11 ... 16)
  • low power
  • fanless

Backend server

  • USB 2x
  • ethernet 2x
  • VGA


Candidate for reference choice:


Software on backend

Decision: Ubuntu (non X)


Access node

  • ethernet 2x
  • PoE
  • outdoor casing
  • broadcom or atheros chipset
  • 5 ... 18 Volts
  • Watchdog (option)
  • WISPCAR (option)
  • serial port


Candidates:

  • Linksys WRT54GL
    • price: EUR 50, ZAR 600, USD 60
    • power: 4 W
    • comments:
  • Ubiqiti
    • price: NS 2: USD 79
    • price: PS 2: USD 110
    • power: 5 W
  • Accton
    • price: USD 40
    • power: 2-3 W ?
    • comments: overheat problems? needs fixed power 5 V? quality of radio? unstable across channels?
  • PCEngines board
    • price: > USD 250
    • power: approx > 8W, depending on radio cards
    • comments:
  • Soekris
  • Gateworks
  • Wiligear

Solar powering: A word on the fine for every watt installed

Elektra makes the conservative estimate:

To power a 5 Watt device reliably, install a 80 Watt solar panel. This means: 16 Watt solar panel per 1 Watt installed.

At about USD 5 per solar panel watt (current rough guess for market price), we have:

USD 80 in solar panel per 1 Watt installed.


Even when demanding less margin from the solar power system (i.e. less reliability, more optimism), the fine for every Watt installed is heavy.


Next steps

  • Cape Town Village Telco worksprint
  • Kobus, Johann, Elektra
    • We need a presentation - Sebastian sends to Kobus and all - dead: june 10
      • Metaphores: pipes - water / roads - cars /
    • Minutes / Doc
  • Software development
    • Meraka - Priority: the set of Coova (alternative: WifiDog) / FreeRadius / phpMyPrepaid (alternative: ISPBill) / Nagios
    • Inveneo - Priority: IHL, Server squid/cache, proxy, asterisk, Webmin/ISPConfig
    • How to work together? SVN server ? location ? Meraka machines accessible form outside?
  • Examine the Ubiquiti - Lead: Elektra
    • flash OpenWRT OpenWrt Ubiquiti
    • Examine the SDK
    • examine internal antenna pol switching (AAP)
  • Procurement - Lead: Ajay
    • 12 x Inveneo small server, IONs, June 16
    • 2 x Inveneo, Hub servers, June 16
    • Ubiquiti Nano/Powerstation: one PS2 in place - OK for now
    • Linksyses: we have enough, OK
    • Boards: we have the Gateworks, OK
    • Solar power: one demo system until June 23 - ask Grant: 64 W panel, charge controller, batteries - Lead: Sebastian


  • Examine Open-Mesh - Lead: Sebastian
    • examine status and development
    • specifically: the Coova/Robin merger?
  • Establish Documentation on Wiki