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

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Message sent to Kevin Grace at MITRE

Dear Kevin Grace

The CSIR in South Africa is an organisation much like yours with a vision of using multidisciplinary engineering and scientific research in partnership with government to address issues of critical national importance - which in our case is addressing problems from the legacy of an apartheid government such as poverty, job creation, and addressing the lack of good health and education facilities in disadvantaged communities.

Some of the areas that we are addressing are the lack of telecommunications infrastructure - particularly in the rural areas of our country. We are busy exploring and researching the idea of communities building their own infrastructure using Wifi mesh networks as a basis on which mini community owned wireless networks will be built.

Mobile mesh naturally caught our interest and we have been experimenting with it on Linux PC environments. We have also made a port of mobile mesh which compiles on a FreeBSD machine which you might be interested in.

We have purchased some Linksys WRT54G wireless routers which have cuaused quite a storm due to their low cost - approximately $90 for a device which includes a 200MHz MIPs processor, 32M ram, 16M flash and built in 802.11b/g and it is packaged running a thinned out version of Linux. The entire source and build environemnt is also made available by Linksys under GPL - which creates exciting opportunities to add your own custom software such as mesh protocols and congestion control etc.

Our next task is to port mobile mesh to this MIPS based Linksys wireless router. Our first challenge is getting a c++ cross compile tool chain with stdlibc++. This has proved quite a challenge. Has any effort been made to move mobile mesh to pure ANSI C code or to cross compile it for an enviroment such as this.

We would also like to explore the possibility of collaboration with your organisation in the field of wireless networking - we have been working in this area for the past 10 years and their might be some good synergies and shared learning.

Best Regards

David Johnson
ICT for development Infrastructure
Information Society Technology Centre (ISTC)
Icomtek CSIR South Africa
Phone: +27 12 8414266
Fax: +27 12 8414829
Address: PO Box 395, Pretoria, 0001

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