Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich: Wireless Mesh Networking for Social and Environmental Justice
Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich: The Pioneers of Wireless Mesh Networking
Wireless mesh networking is a technology that allows devices to communicate with each other without relying on a central infrastructure or authority. It is a decentralized, self-organizing, and resilient network that can adapt to changing conditions and needs. Wireless mesh networking has many applications and benefits, such as providing internet access to remote areas, supporting disaster relief and emergency response, enhancing social and environmental justice, fostering innovation and creativity, and challenging the dominance of traditional telecom operators.
thomas krag and sebastian buettrich wireless mesh networking Full
But who are the people behind this technology? Who are the pioneers who envisioned, developed, and promoted wireless mesh networking? In this article, we will introduce you to two of them: Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich. They are two Danish engineers who have been involved in wireless mesh networking since the early 2000s. They have contributed to the research, development, deployment, and advocacy of wireless mesh networking in various contexts and regions. They have also inspired and mentored many other people who share their passion for wireless mesh networking.
In this article, we will explore the history, impact, and future of wireless mesh networking through the lens of Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich. We will learn about their background, motivation, achievements, challenges, and vision for wireless mesh networking. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about wireless mesh networking at the end of the article.
The History of Wireless Mesh Networking
What is wireless mesh networking?
Wireless mesh networking is a type of network topology that consists of nodes (devices) that can communicate with each other directly or indirectly through multiple hops (intermediate nodes). Each node acts as a router and a client at the same time, forwarding data packets to other nodes while also receiving data packets from other nodes. This way, wireless mesh networks can form dynamically without requiring a predefined structure or configuration. Wireless mesh networks can also self-heal by rerouting data packets around broken or congested links.
Wireless mesh networks use various wireless technologies to transmit data, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, LoRaWAN, etc. Depending on the technology used, wireless mesh networks can operate in different frequency bands (such as 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz), have different ranges (from tens of meters to tens of kilometers), and have different data rates (from kbps to Mbps). Wireless mesh networks can also interoperate with other types of networks, such as cellular networks or satellite networks.
The origins of wireless mesh networking
Wireless mesh networking is not a new concept. It has its roots in the military and academic research in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the earliest examples of wireless mesh networking was the DARPA Packet Radio Network (PRNET), which was developed by the US Department of Defense to provide mobile and robust communication for military units. Another example was the Distributed Sensor Networks (DSN) project, which was funded by the US National Science Foundation to study the feasibility of using wireless sensors to monitor physical phenomena.
However, wireless mesh networking did not gain much attention or popularity until the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the commercial availability of low-cost and high-performance wireless devices, such as laptops, PDAs, and smartphones, increased the demand and potential for wireless connectivity. Moreover, the emergence of the open source movement and the hacker culture encouraged people to experiment with wireless technologies and create their own networks. This led to the birth of various grassroots initiatives and communities that aimed to build wireless mesh networks for various purposes, such as providing free or low-cost internet access, creating social networks, supporting activism and art, etc.
The role of Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich in wireless mesh networking
Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich are two of the pioneers who have been involved in wireless mesh networking since the early 2000s. They met each other at a workshop on wireless networking in Copenhagen in 2001, where they realized that they shared a common interest and vision for wireless mesh networking. They decided to collaborate and form a consultancy company called wire.less.dk, which specialized in wireless mesh networking research, development, deployment, and advocacy.
One of their first projects was to create a wireless mesh network for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in 2003, which was a major international event that aimed to address the digital divide and promote the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development. Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich designed and installed a wireless mesh network that covered the entire summit venue, providing internet access to thousands of participants and visitors. They also demonstrated the potential and benefits of wireless mesh networking for developing regions and marginalized communities.
Another project that Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich worked on was to develop a wireless mesh network for the Tactical Technology Collective, which is a non-profit organization that supports activists and human rights defenders with digital tools and strategies. Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich helped to design and deploy a wireless mesh network that enabled secure and anonymous communication for activists in various countries, such as Zimbabwe, Lebanon, India, etc. They also trained activists on how to use and maintain the wireless mesh network.
Thomas Krag and Sebastian Buettrich have also contributed to the research, education, and dissemination of wireless mesh networking through various publications, workshops, conferences, and courses. They have written several papers and articles on wireless mesh networking, such as "Wireless Mesh Networking", "Wireless Networking in the Developing World", "Wireless Commons: A New Paradigm for Wireless Networking", etc. They have also organized and participated in many workshops and conferences on wireless mesh networking, such as Wireless Mesh Workshop, Wireless Community Weekend, Wireless Utopia, etc. They have also taught courses on wireless mesh networking at various universities and institutions, such as IT University of Copenhagen, ITU Regional Office for Asia-Pacific, UNESCO IFAP Capacity Building Programme, etc.
The Impact of Wireless Mesh Networking
How wireless mesh networking benefits communities and society
Wireless mesh networking has many benefits for communities and society. Some of them are:
can also use unlicensed spectrum or unused TV channels, avoiding the need for expensive licenses or fees.
It supports disaster relief and emergency response by providing resilient and flexible communication in situations where traditional telecom infrastructure is damaged or overloaded. Wireless mesh networks can self-organize and self-heal, adapting to changing conditions and needs. Wireless mesh networks can also integrate with other communication technologies, such as satellite phones or ham radios, to provide backup or alternative communication channels.