Welcome to the CSIR Meraka Institute's "COIN" Blog

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Good contact made with Champaign-Urbana community wireless network

Here's their home page

This organisation has also been funded by the IDRC and Johann has made contact with them

On Sat, 10 Jul 2004, Johann Hugo wrote:
> On Wednesday 07 July 2004 23:16, you wrote:
> > tell us something about your background and skillset.
> Hi Chase
> I am working for the CSIR in South Africa (www.csir.co.za). The CSIR is
> the premier technology and research organisation in Africa.
> My area of expertise is mainly in outdoor wifi networks and FreeBSD and
> I've been involved with it since 2000. Most of our projects are around
> bettering the lives of people in rural areas, using state of the art
> technologies. We've won a Stockholm award in both 2000 and 2004 for some of
> the work that we have done. Here are some links of the stuff I've been
> involved with: http://www.cda.co.za
> http://www.cda.co.za/Media%20Cache/2000/Technobrief%20June%202000/Technobri
>ef% 20June%202000.htm
> http://www.digitaldoorway.co.za
> http://www.challenge.stockholm.se/feature_index.asp
> Our unit started with wireless Lans in about 1998 using Lucent wireless
> cards and Karl Brug software. Later we started using FreeBSD (One of the
> group members are a FreeBSD developer and we are also a mirror site for
> FreeBSD in South Africa). Our current wifi systems are mostly green soekris
> boxes running FreeBSD (I think we were one of soekris first clients). We've
> set up a couple of wifi networks and we are running voice, video and data
> over these networks.

Excellent! It would appear our groups have much in common.

> One of our latest activities is to change our current network and to set up
> an experimental wifi mesh network with about 25 nodes in the Pretoria area.
> Once this is up and running there will be followups where we install mesh
> networks (+ training ) into some rural areas.
> Our group are currently looking at mobilemesh that runs on Linux. Some of
> members of the team are busy trying to port it to FreeBSD. See link to our
> blog spot (some of the team ony use our wifi):
> http://CSIRCOIN.BlogSpot.com/

Interesting. I'll make sure people on our team see this.

> I had a look on your website and are very interested in your system. I've
> downloaded your images and made a bootable CD + burnt a flash for a soekris
> box. I can boot the images, but I cannot log in as root and change
> settings.
> Some questions:
> May we know the root password for your images ?

From what I understand, the root password in the images on the website is
currently nothing which locks the system from root logins. If you
download the upgrade tarball you can take a look at the system image

At this time we recommend you set up a development environment and build
an ISO image if you wish to preconfigure it with a specific root password.
We plan to add some scripts which makes configuring aspects of an image
possible without a complete development environment.

I'll be happy to help you in setting up that development environment, as

> Are your source code open source ?

Yes. Our code is covered by a BSD-variant license. You can find a sample
of that license at:


> Are HSLS and ETX running on your current system ?

A three-part answer:

* Not in the images on the website taken on May 11, 2004.

* Yes in the images on our source code trunk, but HSLS and ETX are not
affecting the route tables, only running to measure that they are
working as expected.

* Yes in our next release, tentatively scheduled for the fourth week of
July, but, again not affecting the route tables.

Until HSLS and ETX are completely turned on, we are using OSPF.

> May we try to port your code to FreeBSD ?
> (We prefer FreeBSD to NetBSD because of our expertise with FreeBSD)

We welcome ports! I hear that a port to FreeBSD should be easy compared
to some other platforms.

> Do you plan a Linux port as well ?
> (Some of the group are Linux users)

Porting the software to run on Linux would probably take some work. We're
not certain if/when we'll get around to it. The biggest API differences
are, from what I understand, in the IPv4/IPv6 parts of the networking

We think that the first step for CUWiN on Linux is to build the software
with NetBSD as the target platform. I, for one, am interested in doing
this as my main systems are all Linux. No ETA on when it will happen,
though. Of course, we'd welcome any assistance you or your team has to

We're very excited about the prospect of working together, especially in
light of the recent IDRC grants given to wireless groups in Africa.


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