The Bee Hive¶
Hey hackers … it is well known that we are in the technological era where Software & Hardware are treated equally with equal contributions. There are many transdisciplinary & interdisciplinary fields/applications that require such contribution – reducing the gap between such peers – resulting in a rich cross pollination. Radio based Community Mesh Networking is one such huge paradigm shifting field – a beehive. We are right in the middle of the cross roads of where hardware and software meet together to enrich each other mutually.
One who is interested in playing such transdisciplinary fields would see a lot of opportunity of systems development – mainly in computing side. It is true and fact that computing systems and platforms serve both the application development and hardware development groups equally.
There are many requirements in the RMN point of view. They can be categorized as follows :
Mesh Network Protocol Systems :¶
One can research and develop new protocols that suits the needs and nature of mesh networking ideas and necessities. Aim for :
- Hands off
- Balancing Data Rate & Protocol Overhead
- Hacking existing protocols
- Testing protocols for different scenarios
Mesh Services :¶
From operating system point of view, a set of services that rely on mesh network architecture are required to leverage the underlying physical distributed mesh network. Like :
- Shared Hosting
- File Sharing
Mesh Applications :¶
Already a lot of applications are created to work independent of centralization or decentralization or distribution. New applications can also be developed to enrich the ecosystem. Like:
- Chat Application
- Voice Communication
- Collective Locality Applications ( application specific data sharing – sensor/actuator, etc…)
- Collective Governance Applications
Physical Antenna Design :¶
Setting up the underlying hardware is a vital step in forming the Radio mesh network. Development can be eased to a phase where a user can erect the antennas within minimal time (say a day or few hours) with all documentation available or buy it from local maker commercially. Development speared towards :
- Antenna design documentation
- Mathematical Antenna performance – Gain, Directivity, Aperture, EIRP, Radiation pattern, Range …
- Material selection documentation
- Assembling documentation
Radio Planning :¶
Erecting Antenna and setting up a Mesh node is not equal to forming a mesh network. Only when nodes are connected in distributed manner and get communicated with such setup – we can name the network as a true 100% mesh network ed community.
That is where Radio planning is vital and there are honey pot of opportunity for developing computing / simulating platforms that provides :
- Path loss modeling
- Coverage prediction
- Visibility analysis
- Drive Test analysis
- GIS integration
Radio Budgeting :¶
This becomes the extension of Radio planning and guides the implementation stage of radio networking. Development necessities include :
- Path profiling
- Radio link Design
- Interference analysis
- GIS integration
A proposal for Free/Open Tool for Radio Planning, Link budgeting for Mesh Communities :¶
Every Radio community so far as we know, depend upon some proprietary package solutions or cloud based centralized services to plan their Radio network when necessary. But in the light of a mesh network community, one of the primary goal is to be independent of Internet’s centralized logistics, to use Free/Open Technologies. With such requirement, we set upon to propose a system that integrates all of these goals while, at the same time drag ourselves from the gravity of full fledged development, so that we can concentrate on community related aspects too ! :).
The following illustrations help one to understand the Radio Planning, Link Budgeting.
Existing Systems :¶
1.Cellular-Expert + Arc gis¶
One can learn how much the Radio and Geography based tools are well developed in the Centralized or Proprietary – only for profit realm. We can learn how the systems are organized, presented etc…. which can just help one in development, making a strategy for it. etc..
Download the PDF
2. Cloud RF (Centralized but most of it is open source)¶
One can download the code stuff from the Cloud RF service for Radio planning and orchestrate the integration of such coding with existing Free Software applications to form new distributed and free systems.
- Cloud RF
- Cloud RF Path Loss Models
- Download the source provided by Cloud RF from here. I have just zipped them for ease to access..
- Please take a look at how Frequency dependent the models are programmed for :
3. QGIS + QRAP¶
QRAP offers a extension for radio planning using QGIS free software system. But in comparison with commercial / proprietary tools it has not gained its momentum and expertiese. It is the right time to hack it, contribute for it, or develop a similar extension or else completely develop a new system with other libraries such as Leaflet, Turf, Phython, C++ based mapping libraries and tools. Whatever the workflow, QRAP will provide a guideline for interested developers.
Learning from Papers :¶
Following papers will help in learning the theoretical and survey aspects for developmental activities…