Justin Kilpatrick |

Althea Development Update #42: Serial Number Zero

Its been a very busy two weeks since my last update.

Not only did I get to see the Falcon Heavy finally fly from the cape, but I also finished the Althea alpha firmware.

Right now OpenWRT devices flashed with Althea firmware using our firmware builder automatically connect to the local Babel mesh network. They then create a secure WireGuard tunnel to exit.altheamesh.com which all internet traffic is put through.

There’s no extra configuration required beyond connecting the devices to another mesh node by whatever method is available, just plug-in and instant secure internet access.

Our first devices are WD myNet N600’s a now defunct but reliable and cheaply available fast Ethernet (100 mbps) router. My own tests show that a user can expect to get 30/50 mbps over the mesh, I’m hoping to ratchet it up to line rate with some additional optimizations.

These devices are packed for transit to Clatskanie Oregon where members of Cascadian Mesh are wrapping up antenna installation. In this first phase of the deployment 6 users are being installed with taller masts and higher powered antennas. Using this extended line of sight these nodes will form the backbone of a network by reselling internet to their neighbors.

Chances are we’ll have to swap out these n600’s for faster devices within the year. If the network grows quickly these backbone units will get overloaded. But that’s a good problem to have, especially when you’re being paid to pass traffic.

Speaking of payment, Rita our billing daemon is taking shape and should be ready to push to these devices by our next update. That will mark our movement from testing basic networking structure into testing billing components.

Our short term goals focus on two things

  • Getting billing and payments finished, tested, and audited
  • Making the deployment experience as easy as possible

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