For our next trip, we will take the installation with us and will try to test it in real environment.
Mark II features changes in software. Hardware is the same as in Mark I
So, the changes:
Raspian 8 (Debian) with Webmin administration suite.
Filesystem has been split, with root partition moved to external SSD (64 G)
Owncloud 9.0 for filesharing — it will be essential for educational content and social uses of the system.
Router runs OpenWRT, with twin WiFi interfaces. Internal wifi is intended as uplink (connecting to any available wifi Internet access point, to provide connectivity outside). External high power wifi adapter will create local network, providing access to the server.
To get the most out of the hardware, we need to do a bit of hacking:
Router has to be expanded[0. These hacks are well documented here: https://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-mr3020#hardware_hacks] with second USB port (for backup uplink — 3G/4G mobile broadband dongle) and internal micro SD card slot (to expand filesystem). For the internal wifi, there is a need of external antenna, to improve range and signal quality.
We need to add more software, both to the router configuration and to Raspberry — it will be possible as soon as we get final versions of hardware.
Raspberry Pi has to be upgraded to version 3. Memory and processing power of older versions is not enough for couple hundred users, downloading and uploading files at the same time.
Next level of development will be solar power unit, making the node almost autonomous.
We need OpenWRT guru to help with advanced configuration tasks (remote consultancy).
We need Debian/Raspian guru to help with server configuration and tweaking (remotely as well).
We need enthusiastic supporters to help us here in Greece and worldwide, finding places where Daedalus Prime could (and should) be tested and spreading word as much as possible.
We need suggestions what content should we publish for educational and information purposes.
And finally, we need financial support to start assembling first few nodes for real-life implementation and testing.
Please contact us here (comments or contact page) if you are keen and able to help us.
For our work, we will need semi-autonomous devices, creating “pockets of internet”, providing services and content, even if the uplink connection is unavailable or inadequate. It will be useful both due to the patchy (and sometimes costly) coverage in various areas and possible high bandwidth need. As we want to provide educational content via mobile devices, the need for bandwidth for, say, 400 people, will certainly excess any probable uplink capacity available at the camp.
So we need separate wireless networks, providing tools and content online, even if it is to be a very local online.
I started prototyping from the mobile node, codename “Daedalus Prime”. It will be used in our car-based installation, both for the team support and for field network deployment, wherever we go.
Basic functions will be the same:
secure access to the internet any way available
secure access to internal resources, mainly via ownCloud and other local services
That is why I used two separate hardware modules — it will be easier to upgrade them, as we (hopefully) get better equipment). For starters, we got:
TP-Link MR 3020 router[0. Full description, see https://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-mr3020]: “very hackable”, lightweight and relatively cheap (and I just had it laying around, so why not). Currently it is just a stock hardware, but I plan to add external antenna, memory (micro SD) and USB for external devices (hi-gain wifi adapter)[5. Hackers needed! Badly!]. Currently, it uses internal wifi for up-linking, with mobile USB stick as backup. It runs OpenWRT software, which is modular and highly configurable.